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Tue 4 Sep 2012 11:35 AM

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German airports hit by strikes

Lufthansa and airberlin said Gulf routes were not impacted

German airports hit by strikes
Lufthansa said only a handful of long-distance flights would be impacted, adding around half of short and medium-distance flights were cancelled

Lufthansa, Germany’s largest airline, said about 190 flights to and from Frankfurt airport would be cancelled on Tuesday because of strikes in a fight over pay and working conditions.

Lufthansa said only a handful of long-distance flights would be impacted, adding around half of short and medium-distance flights were cancelled.

A Middle East Lufthansa spokesperson told Arabian Business “flights to and from the Middle East are not affected.”

A customer service representative from airberlin, Germany’s second largest carrier and 29 percent owned by Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways, said its flights between Germany and the Gulf were operating as normal.

Dubai’s Emirates, the Middle East’s largest airline, flies to Munich and Frankfurt and reported all its flights were operating as normal.

The German cabin crew union, Independent Flight Attendants Organisation (UFO), said it was calling on its members working at Lufthansa to go on strike in Munich from 1100-2000 GMT.

Earlier, UFO said workers would go on strike in Frankfurt from 0400-1200 GMT and in Berlin's Tegel airport from 0300-1100 GMT.

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.

* With Reuters

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