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Monday,  May 20, 2024 8:29 AM 

Strike grounds 1,100+ flights in Germany, some 200,000 travellers affected

Strike grounds 1,100+ flights in Germany, some 200,000 travellers affected
Frankfurt airport. (Ilya Cher/Unsplash)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Air travellers in Germany are facing disruptions today (Feb. 1) as security staff at the country’s biggest airports take job action following unsuccessful pay negotiations.

One-day strikes are set to ground more than 1,100 flights on Thursday at German airports, including Frankfurt, a global hub.

The labour union Ver.di, which represents some 25,000 airport security workers, has called the strike as it tries to put pressure on the government to reach a wage settlement.

READ MORE: Workers at major German airports to strike on Thursday

The union is seeking a raise of 2.80 euros per hour ($3.03) for employees and calling for bonuses for overtime work to kick in from the first extra hour, according to the Associated Press.

“Warning strikes,” such as today’s, are a common tactic in German pay disputes.

For travellers, though, it’s a major headache. The German airports association ADV said Wednesday that some 200,000 passengers will be impacted by Thursday’s strike.

Don’t go to airport, says Lufthansa

According to Cirium flight data, Lufthansa will be the most impacted as the airline cancels some 36 per cent of its departures from affected airports.

“It is not possible to board flights locally at German airports today,” Lufthansa wrote on the social media platform X on Thursday, noting two exceptions: Munich and Nuremberg (those airports will remain active).

“Due to the Ver.di strike, security checks are closed and access to the departure area is not possible. Therefore, we ask you to not come to the airport.”

Many Lufthansa flights will still be operating, though, for transfer passengers.

“These guests are already in the transit area and do not have to go through security checks at the airports,” the airline wrote. “Flights are therefore still visible in our systems.”

“The only two German airports where you are able to fly from are Munich and Nuremberg.”

Hamburg Airport. (Unsplash/Mika Baumeister)

Customers are being asked to use rebooking options here, via Lufthansa’s app, or by contacting the carrier’s service centres.

“Please note that it is not possible to rebook onto another flight from Germany (exceptions are Munich and Nuremberg) on the same day,” the airline noted.

Eurowings, Ryanair, Turkish Airlines, British Airways and KLM, in that order (based on the number cancellations) are also impacted by the strike, Cirium reports.

At Berlin Brandenburg's airport, all flight departures are cancelled for Thursday. In a statement, the airport said flights would return to normal on Friday (Feb. 2), Reuters reports.

Airports in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Hanover are reportedly taking similar measures.

The strike adds to an already-disrupted Germany as the Western European country on Monday (Jan. 30) ended a six-day train strike, an event that wreaked havoc on travel plans and strained supply chains.

It was the longest industrial action in the national railway’s history.

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