Flight cancellations due to ground staff strike No additional chaos due to Lufthansa strike at Cologne/Bonn Airport
Cologne/Bonn · More than 150,000 passengers have missed their flights because of the Lufthansa strike. There were considerably greater problems at the hubs in Frankfurt and Munich than at the airports in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Patrick Strauch is a so-called tug driver at Düsseldorf Airport; he pulls the aircraft on the tarmac. He has been working at the airport for 26 years. Now, however, he has had enough of the working conditions, which he feels have worsened from year to year. "It's not just about money for us, it's clearly about jobs - especially in Corona time," he says, explaining his reason for joining the strike. "After a very short time in the pandemic, the people who had temporary contracts were terminated and have not been replaced to date.“
A warning strike by Lufthansa ground staff caused delays and scattered cancellations at Düsseldorf Airport on Wednesday morning. "We have full strike participation. We know of no strikebreakers," said Verdi secretary Andrej Bill. According to him, between 60 and 70 employees were on strike in Düsseldorf.
Lufthansa had canceled almost the entire program at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs on Wednesday because of the warning strike. A total of ten arrivals and departures to Munich were also canceled in Cologne/Bonn - as well as in Düsseldorf. The walkout was expected to last until six o'clock on Thursday morning. With this, Verdi wants to put pressure for better pay for employees after several rounds of negotiations with Lufthansa.
No serious effects at Düsseldorf Airport
The strike did not have any serious impact at the airport in Düsseldorf. "There are also too few of us here on strike for that. Düsseldorf is no longer a major Lufthansa location," said one striker. The isolated flights that were canceled hardly mattered. "The affected passengers had rebooked in advance. I can report no problems," said a Lufthansa employee in Düsseldorf. Rather, the airport in the state capital saw the normal vacation traffic that has been familiar there for weeks: sometimes long queues in front of the security checks and the check-in desks. The reason for this was a shortage of staff.
At Cologne/Bonn Airport, the effects of the strike were not noticeable at all. Five domestic Lufthansa flights to Munich had been canceled for Wednesday. "All passengers were informed in good time, so no one even showed up at the counter here today," said an employee from the counter next to the deserted Lufthansa check-ins. After the sometimes chaotic conditions over the weekend, where police had to calm angry passengers in the queues at security checkpoints, many travelers again arrived at the airport on time and hours before their departure on Wednesday morning.
In Frankfurt 725 flights canceled
At Germany's largest airport in Frankfurt, 725 of 1160 scheduled flights were canceled Wednesday, according to a spokesman for operator Fraport. This means that flights operated by other airlines, which are usually assisted by Lufthansa ground staff, are also affected. Lufthansa itself had given the number of 646 strike-related flight cancellations for Wednesday. Flights of Lufthansa Group companies such as Swiss, Austria, Brussels or Air Dolomiti were also canceled. In addition, aircraft from Croatian, United, Air Canada and Poland's LOT were also unable to take off. The situation was similar in Munich.
Lufthansa spokesman Martin Leutke described the warning strike as "unnecessary, excessive and far too extensive". The company had presented a substantial offer that could have been discussed further. However, Verdi had decided to carry out the conflict on the backs of the passengers. "There was no need for such a strike.“
Lufthansa and Verdi have only held two rounds of talks on the future salaries and working conditions of some 20,000 ground staff. A third date has been set for Aug. 3-4 in Frankfurt. Verdi had rejected an initial offer as too low. The union is demanding a 9.5 percent pay rise, with a minimum of 350 Euro. Another group of employees, the pilots, will be taking part in a ballot on industrial action until Sunday.
Original text: Claudia Hauser and Christian Schwerdtfeger
Translation: Mareike Graepel