Lufthansa strike could see Olympians stranded
AFP · 26 Jul 2008, 15:04
Published: 26 Jul 2008 15:04 GMT+02:00
The German airline faces unlimited strike action by cabin and ground staff
from midnight on Sunday with the majority of Germany's 750 Olympic delegation set to fly to China next week.
The majority of the team want to fly between July 27 and August 3 for the Olympic Games, which last from August 8-24, with the bulk set to travel on Wednesday, July 30.
Lufthansa is planning a party in Frankfurt to see the team off, but the strike has now thrown the celebration into question.
"We assume the entire air traffic will not just come to a complete halt," Lufthansa spokesman Horst W. Poppe told German sports agency SID.
"In any case, flights for the Olympic athletes have the highest priority. We will spare no effort in getting those athletes to China on time. That is our target."
According to Poppe, each and every athlete, official and support staff from Germany's team will arrive in Beijing on time.
"The question is simply whether they will fly on the flight they have booked with someone else," he said.
Lufthansa is part of the Star Alliance and could be helped out by one of its partner airlines, which include Air China.
Verdi, the public sector union, which represents the 52,000 Lufthansa cabin and ground staff, is demanding a 9.8 percent pay increase over a 12-month period, while Lufthansa has offered a 6.7 percent rise over 21 months.
There is no indication how long the strike will last.