German airline Lufthansa announced that it is canceling almost all of its flights in Germany on Wednesday July 27th due to a strike action conducted by ground staff. The cancellations add to an already chaotic summer at airports across Europe.
“Lufthansa will have to cancel almost the entire flight schedule at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs on Wednesday,” the airline said in a statement. More than 1,000 flights will be canceled, including some as early as Tuesday July 26th, affecting some 134,000 passengers.
The Verdi union called the strike between 01:45 GMT on Wednesday and 04:00 GMT on Thursday “to increase pressure” on management, from which it is demanding a 9.5 percent pay rise. The strike concerns ground employees, especially maintenance staff, but also aircraft towing vehicle operators, essential to the smooth running of the airport. Lufthansa is canceling a total of 678 flights at Frankfurt and 345 at Munich, 47 of them already on Tuesday.
The impact of the strike may lead to cancellations and occasional delays on Thursday and Friday.Lufthansa
The strike comes at the height of the peak season, just days before the start of school vacations in two southern German regions. Passengers have already experienced long waits at airports and a series of flight cancellations due to staff shortages in recent weeks.
Since the lifting of health restrictions at the beginning of the year, airlines and airports have faced problems in meeting the sharp increase in demand, following two years of low air traffic, during which many employees were laid off.
An estimated 7,000 airline workers are currently needed in Germany, according to a study by the IW economic institute published at the end of June. Lufthansa has already canceled some 6,000 flights this summer, while the country’s first airport, Frankfurt Airport, intends to reduce the schedule to “further stabilize disrupted air operations.”