BERLIN (AP) — More than 1,000 Lufthansa flights were canceled Wednesday due to a one-day strike by the airline’s German ground staff, affecting tens of thousands of passengers in Europe’s latest travel turmoil.
Some 134,000 passengers had to change their travel plans or cancel them altogether. At least 47 connections had already been canceled by Tuesday, the German news agency dpa reported.
Lufthansa’s main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich were the hardest hit, but flights in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, Hannover, Stuttgart and Cologne were also cancelled.
The airline advised affected passengers not to go to the airports because most counters would not be manned anyway.
Lufthansa spokesman Martin Leutke criticized the strikes as damaging.
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“People who wanted to travel, who planned vacations for a long time, who waited for vacations, unfortunately postponed these vacation dreams… maybe even destroyed by the strike,” Leutke told reporters in Frankfurt. “This strike is completely unnecessary. It’s also completely exaggerated.”
At Frankfurt airport, 725 of the 1,160 scheduled flights were canceled for the day, according to a spokesman for airport operator Fraport. Flights operated by other airlines, which are often supported by Lufthansa ground staff, were also affected, dpa reported. Lufthansa itself had given the figure of 646 strike-related flight cancellations for Wednesday.
The service workers’ union ver.di announced the strike on Monday as it seeks to increase pressure on Lufthansa in negotiations over the pay of some 20,000 employees at the airline’s logistics, technical and cargo subsidiaries.
The strike comes at a time when airports in Germany and across Europe are already experiencing disruptions and long lines for security checks due to staff shortages and growing travel demand.
As inflation soars, strikes by airport crews in France and Scandinavian Airlines pilots in Sweden, Norway and Denmark for higher wages have deepened chaos for travelers facing last-minute cancellations. , long delays, lost luggage or long waits at airports around the world. Europe.
Travel is booming this summer after two years of COVID-19 restrictions, swamping airlines and airports that are understaffed after pandemic-era layoffs. Airports such as Heathrow in London and Schiphol in Amsterdam have daily flights or limited passenger numbers.
The Lufthansa strike began early Wednesday morning at 3:45 am local time and is scheduled to end early Thursday morning. Such “warning strikes” are a common tactic in German labor negotiations and typically last from several hours to a day or two.
Ver.di is asking for a 9.5% pay rise this year and says an offer from Lufthansa earlier this month, which would involve an 18-month deal, falls far short of his demands.
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