Gulf passengers may face strike disruptions in Germany
Gulf passengers flying to and through Frankfurt face possible disruption this week as industrial action by Lufthansa staff continues this week.
The Independent Flight Attendants Organisation (UFO) has again called cabin crews to strike on Tuesday, 4 September 2012, Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, said in a statement on its website.
No strike actions are planned for Monday, 3 September 2012, the statement added. “Lufthansa sincerely regrets that the labour dispute is being waged at the expense of its customers… Lufthansa regrets any inconvenience to its passengers caused by the strike measures and will do its utmost best to minimise the impacts,” it said.
The strike by Lufthansa cabin crew disrupted hundreds of flights last week, stranding thousands of passengers who faced further delays over a busy holiday travel weekend from a rolling series of stoppages about pay and cost cuts.
Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport said it had asked for no flights to depart to Frankfurt from European destinations, citing a lack of parking positions at Germany's busiest airport due to planes grounded by the strike.
Lufthansa said it cancelled most of the 360 scheduled arrivals and departures at its Frankfurt hub during Friday's eight-hour strike, which followed the breakdown of 13 months of talks with trade union UFO.
UFO, which represents around two-thirds of Lufthansa's 19,000 flight attendants, did not rule out further stoppages over the weekend and said it could call for industrial action at other airports "today or tomorrow".
"It depends a lot on what Lufthansa's response is," UFO head Nicoley Baublies told Bayerischen Rundfunk radio, warning the airline not to pressure workers to break the strike.
The stoppages were initially focused on flights to and from Frankfurt, but might affect the airline's wider European and global network and could cost it millions of euros a day in lost revenue.
Like most global airlines, Lufthansa is battling soaring fuel prices, weak demand from cash-strapped passengers and economic slowdown, as well as fierce competition from low-cost carriers such as Ryanair.
Lufthansa, which operates around 1,850 flights daily, mostly from Frankfurt and Munich, also needs to generate more profit to pay for 17 billion euros ($21.3 billion) of new aircraft on order.
The UFO union, which represents around two-thirds of Lufthansa's 19,000 flight attendants, wants a 5 percent pay rise and guarantees that Lufthansa will not outsource jobs and use more temporary workers, as it has already done in Berlin.