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How Eurowings pilot strike is affecting air travel in Germany

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 18 Oct, 2022 Updated Tue 18 Oct 2022 13:08 CEST
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A departure board shows cancelled flights at Cologne/Bonn airport. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sascha Thelen

Pilots at German airline Eurowings are striking for three days this week. Here's how it's affecting air travel.

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What's happening?

Pilots from the Lufthansa subsidiary Eurowings have been called out on strike from Monday to Wednesday this week by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union. 

They are staging the action to call for better working conditions, including a reduction in their workloads by limiting their maximum flying time and extending rest periods.

How is it impacting travel across Germany?

About half of all scheduled flights in Germany were cancelled on Tuesday, day two of the strike, a spokesman for Eurowings said. On Monday, 240 of 488 flights across the country were axed in total. 

Passengers travelling via Düsseldorf, Cologne/Bonn and Hamburg airports are particularly affected by flight cancellations. However, several flights have also been cancelled in Stuttgart, Munich and Berlin.

Around 40 flights from Düsseldorf were axed on Tuesday and further cancellations are planned for Wednesday, the last day of the strike. 

At Hamburg airport, nearly 60 Eurowings flights to and from the airport were cancelled on Tuesday. According to a Eurowings spokesman, all customers were informed of the cancellations the day before.

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At Munich airport, the Eurowings flights to and from Palma de Mallorca are due to go ahead as planned. Otherwise, all of the airline's flights have again been cancelled - that is 24 of 30 scheduled flights.

Travellers stand in line at the Eurowings check-in counter at Düsseldorf Airport on Monday, where several flights are cancelled in the strike.

Travellers stand in line at the Eurowings check-in counter at Düsseldorf Airport on Monday, where several flights were cancelled in the strike. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Roberto Pfeil

The airport was also affected by the strike on Monday when 22 out of 26 connections were cancelled.

Domestic German connections - to Cologne, Dortmund, Hamburg and Düsseldorf - are those most affected by the action. 

According to Berlin's BER Airport, 32 of a total of 48 Eurowings flights have been cancelled for the second day of the strike on Tuesday. On Monday 22 connections were axed. 

At Cologne/Bonn airport several flights have also been cancelled.

The firm is asking customers to check the status of their flight on its website or via the Eurowings app. Passengers are being offered other travel options – such as switching to the train or rebooking on another flight.

Eurowings Europe, which is licensed in Austria, and Eurowings Discover are not affected by the work stoppage.

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

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How long does the strike last - and why is it taking place?

The Vereinigung Cockpit union called on Eurowings pilots to stop working from midnight on Monday up to and including Wednesday, October 19th in a bid to fight for improved working conditions.

The union is calling for 14 additional days off and a reduction of the maximum weekly working time by five hours. The union, which represents almost 10,000 pilots and flight engineers from German airlines, has refused to accept an offer from the airline. 

Eurowings has offered 10 extra days of vacation annually and three hours less work each week.

The airline has stressed that its offer is non-negotiable, saying any further reductions would not be "economically justifiable".

In a letter to the workforce on Monday, the management threatened to withdraw their offer.

During the first Eurowings pilots' strike on October 6th, about half of all flights were axed. Tens of thousands of passengers had to switch to other flights or the train – or postpone their trip.

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The Local 2022/10/18 13:08

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