Germany’s union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) wants a pay raise for Lufthansa’s pilots and first officers. Today, they are on strike. Only very few Lufthansa flights are supposed to take off.
Berlin, September 2nd, 2022 (The Berlin Spectator) — At BER Airport in Brandenburg, all Lufthansa flights were cancelled on Friday. They would have taken passengers to Frankfurt Airport and Franz Josef Strauss Airport near Munich. In these cases, passengers can just hop on bullet trains instead, and the trip will not even take them much longer in comparison, because of the usual waiting times at airports.
Things are very different at Lufthansa’s largest hub in Frankfurt. Here, a few Lufthansa flights were actually supposed to take off, including the one to Lanzarote at 6:25 a.m. CEDT and the one to Zurich at 6:40 a.m.. But most of the German airline’s flights, more than 800 of them, were cancelled because of the walkouts, including those to Brussels, Athens, Berlin, Vienna, Catania, Stuttgart, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Stockholm, Milan, Oslo, London and Paris.
And, yes, Lufthansa’s intercontinental flights were affected too. Today, two flights to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City were cancelled, while a third one will supposedly leave Frankfurt at 11:40 a.m.. Today’s flight to Newark, New Jersey, will not take off. LH flight no. 510 to Buenos Aires was just postponed. Instead of leaving tonight, as originally scheduled, it will take off at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday. But today’s flight to Benito Juarez Airport in Mexico City was cancelled. Most flights were.
The walkouts began at midnight. Twenty-four hours later, at midnight tonight, they are supposed to end. But getting the regular flight schedule back on track is complicated, meaning some of tomorrow’s flights might be affected too. Today, 130,000 passengers are affected. Lufthansa asked its customers to check the status of their flights and not to come to the airport if their connections were cancelled. Instead, they were told to change their flight date or travel by train.
Normally, passengers are eligible for reimbursements if their flights have long delays or in the case of cancellations. This is one reason why this will be a very expensive day for Lufthansa. The pilots who are part of the strike work for the airline that carries the name of the corporation, Lufthansa, and for its cargo division Lufthansa Cargo.
In three of Germany’s federal states, Hesse, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland, the summer vacations are about to end. This means that vacationers who intend to return to Germany are affected as well. Lufthansa flights that originate abroad are supposed to take place today. The airline’s subsidiaries Austrian Airlines, Swiss, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Eurowings Discover and Lufthansa Cityline, are not affected by the walkouts either, at least for now. But Eurowings pilots might organize their own strike soon.
While Lufthansa says it had presented a good offer to the union, in spite of the Corona crisis and the dim outlook for the world economy, VC says it wants a better deal. It insists on a pay raise of 5.5 percent for cockpit crews.