Lufthansa cancellations affect more than 130,000 passengers

(CNN) – More than 1,000 Lufthansa flights have been canceled so far due to the strike this week, with more than 130,000 passengers affected.

The German airline announced on Wednesday that it will cancel nearly all of its German-based flights in Germany on Wednesday.

Given that the strike of ground staff by trade union Verdi would have a “huge operational impact in the middle of the peak travel season”, the airline said it “must cancel almost the entire flight schedule at its Frankfurt and Munich hubs for Wednesday”.

With the start of the summer holiday season, the airline said it is already working under high pressure to reschedule flights this weekend, following previous strikes. Lufthansa warned that Wednesday’s strike could lead to individual flights being canceled or delayed on Thursday and Friday.

According to Lufthansa, a total of 678 flights will be canceled at Frankfurt Airport, 32 of them on Tuesday and 646 on Wednesday. An estimated 92,000 passengers will be affected.

In the Munich hub, a total of 345 flights are scheduled to be canceled, including 15 on Tuesday and 330 on Wednesday. Lufthansa said an estimated 42,000 passengers would be affected.

The cancellations include some international flights from Bangkok, Singapore, New York, Los Angeles, Johannesburg and New Delhi.

Lufthansa, Germany’s national carrier, added that rebooking capacity for passengers affected by the cancellation was very limited.

The Ver.di union is asking for a 9.5% wage increase for Lufthansa ground staff, with a minimum of €350 ($368) per month for 12 months. The union said employees are experiencing fatigue due to a massive staff shortage, high inflation and a three-year wage freeze.

About 20,000 workers were asked to take part in Verdi’s strike, including ground crew, crew and aircraft technicians.

Michael Neijemann, chief human resources officer and director of business at Deutsche Lufthansa AG, told reporters on Tuesday that the strikes “caused significant damage”.

He said Lufthansa had offered “significant wage increases over the next 12 months”, adding that the strike was “simply no longer proportional”.

Lufthansa’s head of media relations, Martin Lutke, told reporters Wednesday that “the massive hit on the backs of customers is incomprehensible and unjustified” after he went through two rounds of negotiations with the company.

He said the airline was trying to rebook travelers on the best possible alternative routes and advised customers who did not have confirmed flights on Wednesday not to come to the airport, saying “Resources are scarce here and we can probably help digitally better than here at an airport.”

The strike has begun at 3:45 a.m. local time (9:45 p.m. ET) on Wednesday and is scheduled to end at 6 a.m. local time (midnight ET) on Thursday, the union said in a statement.

Top photo: Empty check-in counters for Deutsche Lufthansa AG at Frankfurt Airport Terminal 1 in Frankfurt, Germany, Friday, June 24, 2022 (Alex Kraus/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

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