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STRIKES

Pilots at German airline Lufthansa suspend strikes through June 2023

Lufthansa pilots will not strike again until at least the end of June next year under a pay deal negotiated with the airline, the two sides said Monday.

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 agreement “includes a comprehensive peace obligation until 30th June 2023”, with strikes “excluded during this period”, Lufthansa said in a statement.

The airline and the pilots’ union Cockpit signed an accord in early September to avoid planned industrial action.

The deal sees basic pay for pilots at Lufthansa and its cargo subsidiary climb by 980 euros ($993) in two equal steps, once retroactively for August 2022 and again in April 2023.

A rookie copilot will see wages increase by 20 percent under the agreed plan, while the raise for a seasoned pilot will be equivalent to 5.5 percent, according to Lufthansa.

The two sides “will continue their constructive exchange on various topics” while the deal is in place, Lufthansa said.

Beyond the pay agreement, the union was happy to “take a step towards a durable partnership” with the accord, Cockpit boss Marcel Groels said.

During the dispute, pilots walked out for 24 hours at the beginning of September, leading Lufthansa to cancel almost all its flights out of Frankfurt and Munich, its two German hubs.

Lufthansa reached a pay deal with ground staff in early August, after the dispute led to strike action in the peak European holiday season.

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TRAVEL NEWS

When will Germany’s €49 ticket start?

Germany announced a €49 monthly ticket for local and regional public transport earlier this month, but the hoped-for launch date of January 2023 looks increasingly unlikely.

When will Germany's €49 ticket start?

Following the popularity of the €9 train ticket over the summer, the German federal and state governments finally agreed on a successor offer at the beginning of November.

The travel card – dubbed the “Deutschlandticket” – will cost €49 and enable people to travel on regional trains, trams and buses up and down the country.

There had been hopes that the discount travel offer would start up in January 2023, but that now seems very unlikely.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Germany’s €49 ticket

Martin Burkert, Head of the German Rail and Transport Union (EVG) now expects the €49 ticket to be introduced in the spring.

“From our point of view, it seems realistic to introduce the Deutschlandticket on April 1st, because some implementation issues are still unresolved”, Burkert told the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland. The Association of German Transport Companies, on the other hand, considers the beginning of March to be a realistic start date.

The only thing that seems clear regarding the start date is that it will be launched at some point in 2023.

Why the delay?

Financing for the ticket is continuing to cause disagreements between the federal and state governments and, from the point of view of the transport companies, financing issues are also still open.

Burkert from EVG said that the federal government should be prepared to provide more than €1.5 billion for the ticket if necessary.

“Six months after the launch of the Deutschlandticket at the latest, the federal government must evaluate the costs incurred to date with the states and, if necessary, provide additional funding,” he said. 

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Germany’s €49 travel ticket is far better than the previous €9 ticket

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn has warned that the network is not prepared to cope with extra demand. 

Berthold Huber, the member of the Deutsche Bahn Board of Management responsible for infrastructure, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that a big part of the problem is the network is “structurally outdated” and its “susceptibility to faults is increasing.” 

Accordingly, Huber said that there is currently “no room for additional trains in regional traffic around the major hub stations” and, while adding more seats on trains could be a short terms solution, “here, too, you run up against limits,” Huber said.

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