Lufthansa cancels nearly 900 flights due to German union strike

German airline Lufthansa has cancelled 895 flights due to airport strikes by German union Verdi that are planned for April 27, 2016.
German airline Lufthansa has cancelled 895 flights due to airport strikes by German union Verdi that are planned for April 27, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT (REUTERS/AFP/BLOOMBERG) - German airline Lufthansa on Tuesday (April 26) said it had cancelled 895 flights due to airport strikes by German union Verdi that are planned for Wednesday.

Only 40 per cent of an overall roughly 1,500 flights to and from German airports, including hubs Frankfurt and Munich, would take place, the airline said in a statement.

Some 87,000 passengers will be affected and 895 Lufthansa flights scrapped because of the strikes, it said.

While most long-haul services will be operated out of Frankfurt, most German flights and "numerous" European services will be dropped on Wednesday.

At Munich, all the German airline's intercontinental services will be cancelled, and only about 90 flights to German or other European destinations will be offered.

To prepare for the strike, Lufthansa also canceled 30 flights on Tuesday.

The Verdi labour union is organising walkouts of as long as a day at six airports on Wednesday as part of a wider pay dispute involving German federal and local government workers.

Other airports affected by the strike include Dusseldorf, Cologne/Bonn, Dortmund and Hanover, with stoppages planned by check-in, security and fire-service employees.

The next round of talks with the authorities is scheduled for Thursday and Friday, the labour group said on Monday.

Lufthansa customers affected will be able to rebook free of charge, and those on intra-German routes can use Deutsche Bahn trains instead, the airline said.

"The strike confirms once again the urgent need for certain 'rules of play' on industrial action in aviation," Ms Bettina Volkens, head of personnel at Lufthansa, said in the statement. She called for binding mediation or conciliation procedures before such strikes can proceed.

The flight cancellations are another setback for Lufthansa chief executive Carsten Spohr, who is having his own struggles trying to win cost concessions from pilots and cabin crews.

Both groups of Lufthansa workers held strikes in the past year that cut 500 million euros from operating profit.

Lufthansa made its latest offer to pilots last week.