Slow Return to Normal Lufthansa Strike Over but Many Flights Still Cancelled

Lufthansa pilots called off their strike after just 24 hours following a court hearing on Monday, but passengers still face delays and cancellations. It will take until Friday for flights to return to normal, the airline said. Meanwhile, air traffic strikes are looming in France, Greece and Britain.

A Lufthansa jet parked at Frankfurt airport.
DPA

A Lufthansa jet parked at Frankfurt airport.


German national airline Lufthansa said it won't be able to return to its normal flight schedule until Friday even though pilots agreed to suspend their strikeat a court hearing on Monday evening.

Around half of all flights are likely to be cancelled on Tuesday, the same number as on Monday. The airline said the resumption of normal services would be slow because many planes and crews aren't where they are supposed to be. Many jets are parked at the major hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

"Of course it takes some time until the planes are back at all 200 locations that the Lufthansa network comprises around the world, and the crews need to be positioned again, too," Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walther told Reuters TV on Tuesday.

Resolving Their Differences

Pilots' union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) had called for a four-day strike last week over demands for job guarantees. They fear that Lufthansa plans to cut staff costs by shifting jobs to foreign subsidiaries such as Brussels Airlines, Austrian Airlines or Lufthansa Italia, where salaries are lower. The strike also targeted Lufthansa's cargo operations and its low-cost unit Germanwings.

At a court hearing in Frankurt on Monday evening, Lufthansa and the union agreed to try again to resolve their differences. The union halted the strike after 24 hours and has suspended it for two weeks until March 8.

Lufthansa said it was able to operate 960 flights on Monday, some 45 percent of the flights that had been scheduled before the strike began at midnight (11 p.m. GMT) on Sunday.

Passengers can find information about flight schedules here. In addition, Lufthansa has set up a free passenger hotline at 0800-850-6070.

More Strikes Looming

But Lufthansa's labor problems aren't over. The cabin crew union UFO on Monday threatened to stage a warning strike over pay. Lufthansa has agreed to talks, which will begin soon.

Airlines in other countries also face trouble. In France, some air traffic controllers are on strike until Saturday in protest over plans to merge the national air traffic control authoritiy DGAC with those of Germany, Switzerland and the Benelux countries. A quarter or even half of all flights at the two Paris airports, Charles de Gaulle and Orly, are expected to be cancelled on Tuesday alone.

Air travel in Greece will come to a standstill for 24 hours from midnight on Tuesday due to a strike by air traffic controllers, part of wider strike action in protest against government savings imposed by the European Union to tackle Greece's debt crisis.

And cabin crew at British Airways voted in favor of strike on Monday but haven't said yet when they plan to start.

cro -- with wire reports

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