Only 12 workers would need to leave their posts at the air traffic control towers in order to ground all flights in and out of the airport, and the GdF air controllers union said on Tuesday morning it was calling on them to go on strike in solidarity with colleagues.
“If all take part, we would think that actually nothing would fly,” said Markus Siebers, GdF chairman. He said the union was planning to put the air traffic controllers on strike on Wednesday morning between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m.
So far the nearly 200 apron staff, who guide planes on the tarmac, have been on strike, to try to pressure airport operator Fraport into increasing wages and improving work conditions.
Siebers said the idea of pulling the air traffic controllers into the fight out of solidarity would be unproblematic legally as the plan was for them to only strike for a short time. The German air traffic control company contradicted this, arguing the dispute only concerned the union and the airport operator.
“An air traffic controller strike would be disproportionate,” said a spokesman for the firm.
So far Fraport has managed to keep the impact of the strike to a minimum with around 80 percent of flights going in and out of Frankfurt, as additional staff are used to replace the apron controllers.