Lufthansa cancels ‘almost all’ flights in Germany over strike

German airline group Lufthansa said it is cancelling "almost all" of its flights to and from its main German hubs in Munich and Frankfurt on Friday after pilots called a strike.

Passengers wait at Frankfurt Airport on July 27th during strikes by Lufthansa ground crew.
Passengers wait at Frankfurt Airport on July 27th during strikes by Lufthansa ground crew. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The airline will cancel 800 flights on September 2nd affecting “130,000 passengers”, Lufthansa said in a statement on Thursday.

Pilots called on more than 5,000 pilots to join in the the industrial action affecting the Lufthansa passenger airline and Lufthansa Cargo after pay negotiations with the German airline collapsed.

The strike will begin shortly after midnight on Thursday and lasts all day Friday before ending at midnight. 

The disruption to the flight plan could lead to further “individual cancellations or delays on Saturday and Sunday”, Lufthansa said.

The companies Eurowings and Eurowings Discover are not affected by the strike and are expected to fly as scheduled. Lufthansa flights from non-German departure points will also take place, provided aircraft and crews are already abroad, the company said.

The airline group voiced regret at the union’s decision, saying it had put forward a “very good offer” that would raise the pilots’ basic wages by €900 a month.

READ ALSO: Pilots from German airline Lufthansa to strike on Friday

Frankfurt airport, which is Lufthansa’s main hub, also released a statement.

The airport said: “Due to a planned strike by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), representing Lufthansa pilots on Friday, September 2nd, flight disruptions and cancellations are likely to occur at Frankfurt Airport throughout the day.”

They urged passengers to check the status of their flight “and to take advantage of available rebooking options before traveling to the airport”.

Lufthansa aircrafts in Hamburg.

Lufthansa aircrafts in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Daniel Bockwoldt

Why are pilots striking?

The pilot union Cockpit is seeking 5.5 percent wage increase by the end of the year, automatic compensation for inflation and an adjustment of its salary grid.

Lufthansa said the entire package sought by the union would raise pilot personnel costs by 40 percent or €900 million.

The union argued however that to avert labour disputes, the airline must “present a significantly improved offer”.

“Currently, we are too far apart. In addition to compensating for the loss of real wages, we now need above all a sustainable solution for the
compensation structure in all occupational groups,” said Cockpit’s negotiator Marcel Gröls.

It comes after a strike by Lufthansa ground crew staff grounded planes and affected travellers in July.

READ ALSO: Lufthansa strike causes travel turmoil in Germany

Air passengers in Germany have also had to deal with chaotic conditions this summer as airports and airlines have struggled with staff shortages following the lifting of pandemic restrictions. 

Meanwhile, with inflation soaring, collective salary bargaining is expected to be tense in the coming months across Europe.

German consumer prices rose by 7.9 percent in the year to August, according to data published Tuesday by the federal statistics agency Destatis.

READ ALSO: What are your rights in Germany if your flight is delayed or cancelled?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Major German trade union wins pay hike, averting strikes

Germany's biggest trade union agreed Friday on wage hikes totaling 8.5 percent that are expected to cover almost four million workers facing soaring inflation, averting a major strike in Europe's top economy.

Major German trade union wins pay hike, averting strikes

The deal will be closely watched across the continent, which is facing spreading industrial action as employees demand large pay increases to cope with rising costs, particularly of energy.

The agreement between IG Metall union – which represents workers in Germany’s key metal and electrical sectors, and is seen a trend setter for setting wages nationwide – was reached early Friday after weeks of talks and walkouts.

The so-called “pilot agreement” in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg, which is expected to eventually cover about 3.9 million workers across Germany, lays out how the pay increase will be introduced in two stages, in 2023 and 2024.

It also includes a €3,000 payment to combat the impact of inflation.

“Employees will soon have significantly more money in their pockets – and permanently,” said Joerg Hofman, president of IG Metall.

The union had initially called for an eight percent increase over 12 months, the biggest hike since 2008.

Its members are from a vast range of key businesses, from automotive to electronics.

Workers have been ratcheting up pressure – with demonstrations, and a series of “warning strikes” at the end of October, which are walkouts for a limited duration, which often accompany salary negotiations in Germany.

READ ALSO: German industry workers to strike from Saturday

If no deal was reached, then the union was poised to launch more serious strikes lasting 24 hours.

While companies are under pressure to hike wages to cope with rising costs, there are fears that raising them too sharply could stoke already sky-high inflation.

READ ALSO: Jobs in Germany: Should foreign workers join a union?