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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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TRAVEL NEWS

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

Germany's cut-price transport ticket is supposed to go on sale next Monday - but a battle over financing is threatening to torpedo the government's plans.

German states threaten to block €9 ticket in Bundesrat

An feud between the federal and state governments intensified on Monday as state leaders threatened to block the government’s most recent energy package when it is put to a vote in the Bundesrat on Friday. 

The battle relates to the government’s plans for a budget transport ticket that would allow people to travel on local and regional transport around Germany for just €9 per month.

Though the 16 states have agreed to support the ticket, transport ministers are arguing that the low-cost option will blow a hole in their budgets and lead to potential price hikes once autumn rolls around.

They claim that current funding promised by the Federal Transport Ministry doesn’t go far enough.

READ ALSO: 

“If the federal government believes it can be applauded on the backs of the states for a three-month consolation prize and that others should foot the bill, then it has made a huge mistake,” Bavaria’s Transport Minister Christian Bernreiter (CSU) told Bild on Monday.

The government has pledged €2.5 billion to the states to pay for the measure, as well as financial support for income lost during the Covid crisis. 

Transport Minister Volker Wissing. of the Free Democrats (FDP), said states would also receive the revenue of the €9 ticket from customers who take advantage of the offer. 

“For this ‘9 for 90 ticket’, the €2.5 billion is a complete assumption of the costs by the federal government,” said Wissing on Thursday. “In addition, the states are also allowed to keep the €9 from the ticket price, so they are very well funded here.”

Transport Minister Volker Wissing

Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) speaks ahead of a G7 summit in Düsseldorf.

However, federal states want a further €1.5 billion in order to increase staff, deal with extra fuel costs and to plan for the expansion of local transport in Germany.

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Reinhard Meyer (SPD), told Bild that there would be “no approval (on Friday) as long as the federal government does not provide additional funds.”

Baden-Württemberg’s Transport Minister Winfried Hermann (Greens) also warned that “the entire package of fuel rebate and €9 euro ticket could fail in the Bundesrat” if the government doesn’t agree to the state’s demands on funding.

The Bundesrat is Germany’s upper house of parliament, which is comprised of MPs serving in the state governments. Unlike in the Bundestag, where the traffic-light coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) has a majority, the CDU is the largest party in the Bundesrat. 

What is the €9 ticket?

The €9 monthly ticket was announced early this year as part of a package of energy relief measures for struggling households.

With the price of fuel rising dramatically amid supply bottlenecks and the war in Ukraine, the traffic-light coalition is hoping to encourage people to switch to public transport over summer instead. 

The ticket will run for three months from the start of June to the end of August, and will allow people to travel nationwide on local and regional transport. Long-distance trains like IC, EC and ICE trains will not be covered by the ticket. 

It should be available to purchase from May 23rd, primarily via ticket offices and the DB app and website. 

Some regional operators, including Berlin-Brandenburg’s VBB, have also pledged to offer the ticket at ticket machines.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to get hold of the €9 travel ticket in Berlin

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