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STRIKES

Passengers face more travel chaos in German airport security staff strikes

Strikes at some German airports were continuing for the second day in a row on Tuesday, resulting in travel misery for air passengers.

A board in Stuttgart airport shows cancelled flights.
A board in Stuttgart airport shows cancelled flights. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Christoph Schmidt

Air travellers were warned to expect delays and cancellations after trade union Verdi called on its security staff members to take part in a day of strike action in five airports in a dispute over pay and conditions. 

The two largest German airports – Frankfurt and Munich – are affected – as well as Hamburg, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe-Baden-Baden.

A statement on Munich airport’s website said: “Munich Airport is affected by a strike by security staff on March 15th until midnight. This may have an impact on flight operations. Passengers are asked to check the status of their flights and contact their airline if necessary.”

Long queues at security control for Hamburg airport on Tuesday.

Long queues at security control for Hamburg airport on Tuesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Bodo Marks

Meanwhile, Frankfurt airport said it strongly advised all passengers “to avoid coming to the airport”.

Management said that transfer passengers for connecting flights “will still largely be possible” but said they should expect delays too.

It comes after strikes hit six German airports on Monday.

According to industry sources, tens of thousands of travellers were unable to fly due to the action affecting passenger, staff and cargo controls. Berlin, Düsseldorf, Cologne-Bonn, Hanover, Hamburg, Leipzig/Halle and Bremen were affected. As a result, there were also cancellations at other airports.

READ ALSO: German airport passengers face disruption due to security staff strikes

The so-called ‘warning strikes’ are part of a collective bargaining dispute between Verdi and the Federal Association of Aviation Security Companies (BDLS). The union is negotiating with the employers’ association on wage increases for 25,000 security staff nationwide, among other issues.

But three rounds of negotiations have so far failed. Both sides plan to meet again on March 16th and 17th in Berlin.

In Hamburg on Tuesday the strikes fall in the middle of the spring holidays. The airport company, like other operators, recommended travellers check the status of their flight before trying to fly.

According to a spokeswoman, Stuttgart airport was also preparing for significant disruptions. 

Meanwhile, Karlsruhe-Baden-Baden airport is trying to at least maintain emergency operations, a spokesperson said. However, delays are to be expected.

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TRAIN TRAVEL

Germany’s Deutsche Bahn to raise ticket prices by almost five percent

The cost of long-distance train travel in Germany is to go up significantly from December.

Germany's Deutsche Bahn to raise ticket prices by almost five percent

The price of tickets for long distance rail services run by Deutsche Bahn (DB) in Germany are to go up by an average of 4.9 percent this winter, it has emerged. 

The company said the hikes, which will come into force from December 11th, are in response to high inflation.

Some tickets will see an even higher increase. The price of Flex tickets, which aren’t tied to a specific train and can be cancelled, will increase by an average of 6.9 percent.

The cost of BahnCards 25, 50 and 100, which frequent travellers can use for discounted rates, are also going up by around 4.9 percent.

Super Saver and Saver fares – Sparpreise – are, however, staying the same. They start at €17.90 (or €12.90 for people who are 27 or younger), although these tickets are not offered on every train and come with some restrictions.

Seat reservations will also remain at the same level. It costs €4.50 for second-class seat reservations.

The changes will apply to DB’s long-distance trains – Intercity and Intercity Express (IC and ICE).

READ ALSO: German rail operator plans huge modernisation 

The company said the hikes were happening because of inflation. Like many other companies, Deutsche Bahn was “forced to react to the massive inflation by adjusting its prices,” but the firm said this was still well below the current inflation rate of eight percent.

DB added that the German Tariff Association said at the beginning of September that regional services would see a price increase of four percent on average.

The new long-distance timetable – which will apply from December 11th – can be booked in advance from October 12th, according to Deutsche Bahn.

Up to and including December 10th, the new offers can still be booked at the old price.

Despite major problems with the punctuality of its trains, Deutsche Bahn has recently been able to significantly increase its passenger numbers back to the level it reached before the Covid crisis. However, as one of the biggest consumers of electricity in Germany, it has also been hit hard by rising energy costs. The additional costs for the coming year have been put at two billion euros, said the firm. 

It comes as federal and state leaders are widely expected to agree to a new nationwide successor to the €9 euro ticket, which would cover all regional public transport – including DB’s regional trains – around the country.

According to Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP), the government is aiming to introduce the new travel offer by January 1st, 2023. 

READ ALSO: Germany sets out plans for €49 public transport ticket in October

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