Lufthansa cancels 900 flights on first day of three-day strike

Frankfurt-Dublin route affected as airline expects to scrap about 3,800 flights

Joerg Handwerg, spokesman for Vereinigung Cockpit, the union for pilots of German air carrier Lufthansa, in front of a flight schedule board showing mainly cancelled Lufthansa flights at Fraport airport in Frankfurt this morning. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

German airline Lufthansa says it has cancelled almost 900 domestic and international flights on the first day of a three-day strike by the pilots' union.

A flight to Dublin scheduled to depart Frankfurt at 5.45am this morning was among those cancelled. Others scheduled for 4.05pm and 9.35pm are similarly affected.

Other flights on the same route, and on the return, are cancelled tomorrow and Friday.

Up to 900 flights in total were cancelled for today and the airline expects to scrap about 3,800 flights altogether affecting more than 425,000 passengers, spokeswoman Barbara Schaedler said.


She added the airline had done whatever it could to offer other travel arrangements for its passengers and rebooked many customers on trains or different airlines.

The pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit had called for the strike through to Friday in a long-running pay dispute.

The dispute could become one of the biggest strikes ever to hit the airline.

The union, representing most of Lufthansa’s 5,400 pilots, called a three-day action to underline its demand to keep an early retirement scheme.

Lufthansa called for fresh talks on the matter.

“Our wish ... is that we start talking again as soon as possible, even during the strike, because I think that we can find a good solution,” Lufthansa spokeswoman Barbara Schaedler told Reuters TV this morning.

The situation at Frankfurt airport, Europe’s third-biggest hub, and at Munich was quiet this morning, spokespeople said, as passengers had been notified of flight cancellations in advance.

German transport minister Alexander Dobrindt called on Lufthansa and the union to seek a quick resolution for the sake of travellers.

“Every day of strikes limits the mobility of hundreds of thousands of people,” he was quoted saying by German daily Bild.

The strike also affects Lufthansa's cargo arm and its low-cost carrier Germanwings.