Lufthansa cancels almost all flights in Frankfurt and Munich, blocking 130,000
Lufthansa Airlines canceled virtually all of its flights to and from Frankfurt and Munich on Wednesday, leaving more than 130,000 travelers to scramble, after around 3,000 staff walked off the job in protest over better pay.
On Wednesday evening in Germany, the airline announced that it had cut 678 flights to and from Frankfurt and 345 flights to and from its Munich hub in the past 48 hours.
“Ahead of the upcoming weekend, the start of the holiday season in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, Lufthansa is working hard to get flight operations back to normal as soon as possible,” said the company said in a statement. The airline added that while it would try to rebook passengers on alternative flights, “the capacity available for this is very limited”.
The protest is expected to end at 6 a.m. Thursday morning local time, according to Dennis Dacke, an official with the United Services Trade Union, known as ver.di.. As of 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, ground service personnel, customer service agents, airport check-in agents and other “non-flying” Lufthansa employees who belong to ver.di left their jobs at Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin and other places, he said. . If a Lufthansa agent picked up the phone to help someone book a flight, the agent was likely outside Germany, he added.
“Wages are not high enough to keep up with inflation,” Mr Dacke said of the protest. The union is demanding wage increases of 9.5% for ground staff and a minimum wage of 13 euros per hour, or about $13 at the current exchange rate, for logistics staff.
In a statement, Lufthansa described wage increases it had already offered during “previously constructive collective bargaining” and lamented the impact on passengers “during the peak travel season”. Flight attendants and pilots, who have their own unions, did not participate in the protest.
Cancellations have also affected other airlines. Air Canada has combined two flights between Toronto and Frankfurt into one flight with a larger plane, the airline said.