- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Frankfurt Airport, Munich Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Airline Group:
- Lufthansa Group
- Carsten Spohr
Lufthansa is due to cancel over 1,000 flights from Frankfurt and Munich tomorrow as around 20,000 ground handlers go on strike. The cancelations will have an impact across the aviation industry, for the rest of the week, if not longer, as passengers are booked onto connecting flights, and aircraft sit on the ground at the two hubs.
Lufthansa ground handlers represented by the Verdi union announced yesterday that they will hold a warning strike tomorrow. This will see them not working from 03:45 on Wednesday to 06:00 on Thursday. The airline calls the strikes “unreasonable for customers and employees” .
1,000+ flights canceled
Lufthansa is canceling over 1,000 flights tomorrow as a result of strike action from ground handlers. According to the airline, its Frankfurt Airport stronghold will be hit the hardest. A total of 32 flights from the German aviation capital have been canceled tonight, with a further 646 flights canceled tomorrow. Meanwhile, Munich Airport has 15 cancelations tonight and a further 330 cancelations tomorrow.
Lufthansa estimates that 134,000 passengers will be affected, 92,000 in Frankfurt and 42,000 in Munich.
Around 20,000 employees are expected to stage a warning strike tomorrow. Photo: Getty Images
The airline is attempting to rebook passengers where possible, but the options for doing this are limited. Other carriers’ flights are likely to already be busy and perhaps subjected to capacity constraints at other airports. Take British Airways to London Heathrow, for example. Two of its five flights have already been canceled, meaning the remaining three likely don’t have space for the passengers from the nine Lufthansa flights that have now been canceled. Assuming that flights across the coming days already have a healthy number of bookings, it could take days to accommodate every affected passenger.
As well as accommodating passengers, Lufthansa will also have to think about where it parks all of its planes while they’re not flying. When most of the fleet was grounded at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of Frankfurt Airport’s runways was closed to provide parking space for aircraft. This won’t be the case tomorrow, though Lufthansa will likely be using every inch of space that it has for grounded planes. When British Airways was similarly affected by a two-day pilot strike in 2019, the limited space at Heathrow meant some creative overseas parking solutions, including sending an A380 to Oakland.
Lufthansa will have to find space to park all the aircraft not flying tomorrow. Photo: Oliver Roesler via Lufthansa
Lufthansa isn’t happy
Lufthansa understandably isn’t happy with the strike going ahead, calling it unreasonable. Commenting on the strike, Michael Niggemann, Member of the Executive Board Chief Officer Human Resources Deutsche Lufthansa, remarked,
“After only two days of negotiations, ver.di has announced a strike that can hardly be called a warning strike due to its breadth across all locations and its duration. This is all the more incomprehensible given that the employer side has offered high and socially balanced pay increases… After the enormous efforts to stabilize our flight operations, this represents a renewed, substantial and unnecessary burden for our passengers and also for our employees beyond the strike day.”
Verdi’s Deputy Chairperson, Christine Behle, asked passengers for their understanding and blamed the situation on mismanagement while saying that the union would inform about the strike “in good time so that the passengers can prepare for it and possibly reorient themselves.” She commented,
“In the second round of negotiations, the employees, who are exposed to enormous pressure every day, were waiting for a strong signal that could have resulted in a good result… They urgently need more money and they need relief – for themselves and for the passengers. The employer’s offer is not enough for this.”
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