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Lufthansa Cancels Flights Ahead of Strike Action

A Lufthansa A330 departing Austin in 2019 with Air Force One in the background. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Mateen Kontoravdis)

After canceling a number of flights on Wednesday due to an IT failure, Lufthansa operations are facing further disruptions due to strike action by airport workers on Friday.

The German carrier’s social media accounts on Wednesday stated, “As of this morning the airlines of the Lufthansa Group are affected by an IT outage, caused by construction work in the Frankfurt region.” Reuters reported that the mid-week chaos was allegedly caused by damage to broadband cables on Tuesday evening during work on a railway extension.

Lufthansa’s check-in and boarding systems at Frankfurt Airport were affected resulting in over 200 flights being canceled and air traffic control suspending incoming flights for a period. A number of Lufthansa Group flights were also delayed during the day due to the knock-on effect of the system failure.

Friday’s strike action by the Verdi trade union will see airport workers walking off the job for 24 hours at seven German airports across the country. Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Dortmund, Hanover and Bremen airports are affected. As a result, the Lufthansa Group is canceling over 1300 flights including all flights at Frankfurt and Munich.

Michael Niggemann, Member of the Executive Board and Chief Officer Human Resources and Infrastructure Lufthansa Group, said, “We regret the enormous impact of this warning strike which is being carried out at the expense of our passengers. We are not a party to the collective bargaining and have no influence on it – nevertheless, our guests and we are massively affected. More than 1,300 flight cancellations for Lufthansa Group airlines alone show once again how vulnerable and fragile the air transport system is to strike activity.”

Verdi deputy chair Christine Behle said in a statement, “The workers are jointly applying pressure on their respective employers because negotiations so far have been unable to produce results.” News site DW.com cited Behle as saying “that ground handling workers “need an attractive wage increase” to counter the “catastrophic labor shortage” that has been felt since the pandemic.” Negotiations between the union and public sector employees are scheduled to resume on Feb. 22 and 23.

According to Reuters, that the German airline may soon be adjusting its summer schedule resulting in more than 34,000 flight cancellations. Citing the German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche, Reuters states that within the Lufthansa Group ‘the number could increase as cancellations at its Eurowings and SWISS units might be added.’

Quoting a Lufthansa spokesperson, WirtschaftsWoche reported that, “Lufthansa has adjusted the 2023 summer flight schedule from Frankfurt and Munich.” The report also stated that the number of flights removed from the Schule may increase “as further daily cancellations can always be added.”

John Flett

Author

  • John Flett

    John has always had a passion for aviation and through a career with Air New Zealand has gained a strong understanding of aviation operations and the strategic nature of the industry. During his career with the airline, John held multiple leadership roles and was involved in projects such as the introduction of both the 777-200 and -300 type aircraft and the development of the IFE for the 777-300. He was also part of a small team who created and published the internal communications magazines for Air New Zealand’s pilots, cabin crew and ground staff balancing a mix of corporate and social content. John is educated to postgraduate level achieving a masters degree with Distinction in Airline and Airport Management. John is currently the course director of an undergraduate commercial pilot training programme at a leading London university. In addition he is contracted as an external instructor for IATA (International Air Transport Association) and a member of the Heathrow Community Fund’s ‘Communities for Tomorrow’ panel.

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