Lufthansa cancels 70 flights amid strike

German airline Lufthansa said on Tuesday it had cancelled 70 flights on the second day of an open-ended strike called by Verdi trade union for higher wages.

Lufthansa cancels 70 flights amid strike
Photo: DPA

Service was cancelled to domestic and European destinations, a spokesman said, but represented just “three percent of all flights” scheduled by the carrier. Long-haul flights were operating normally, he said.

A walk-out by ground maintenance personnel forced the cancellations on Tuesday. About 5,000 maintenance, freight and catering staff stopped work on Monday but few flights were disrupted on the first day.

The scope of the strike also expanded to include more cities on Tuesday. Four flights to and from Berlin were cancelled after Verdi called for maintenance and logistic workers to walk out on their jobs at Berlin’s Tegel and Schönefeld airports in the early hours of Monday morning.

Lufthansa said it hoped all passengers could be booked on other flights.

Verdi spokesperson Doris Fiedler said that all Tegel workers and most Schönefeld workers were taking part and the airline would begin to feel the effects of the strike in the coming days.

Lufthansa was forced to cancel about 15 flights across Germany on Monday as the strike began, but reported that its back up service plan was functioning relatively well to compensate for the some 50,000 workers on strike.

Nine of Lufthansa’s 520-plane fleet have been grounded due to the strike, airline spokesperson Claudia Lange said, adding that intercontinental flights will not be effected.

Another Lufthansa spokesperson said the company is ready to negotiate with Verdi.

“The offer is on the table and negotiations are immediately possible as far as we’re concerned,” spokesperson Klaus Walther told German broadcaster N-TV. “Our doors are open. We’re ready to talk.”

Verdi has asked for a 9.8 percent salary increase for the ground and cabin employees, but Lufthansa has offered a 6.7 percent increase to be implemented over a 21-month period, plus a one-time bonus payment. Verdi announced the strike last week after union members voted overwhelmingly in favour of the action.

Lufthansa asks that passengers check their flights online or call hotline number 0800/850-60-70 for more information.