Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lufthansa cancels hundreds of flights as strikes hit

FRANKFURT, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Deutsche Lufthansa, Germany's biggest airline, cancelled hundreds of flights in Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich on Tuesday as cabin crew launched a second round of strikes in a row over pay and conditions.

The strike action follows a walkout on Friday that left 26,000 passengers stranded and caused millions of euros in lost revenues.

"It is difficult for the company to cushion the impact. We cannot just get new flight attendants, and the personnel buffer is limited," Lufthansa spokesman Klaus Walther said.

While Germany has a track record of mostly harmonious labour relations compared with other major European countries such as France, its airlines and airports have been hit by a string of disputes in recent years as companies battle to cut costs to cope with the rise of low-cost carriers, soaring fuel prices, fast-growing Middle East airlines and an air travel tax.

A strike by Lufthansa pilots in 2010 caused more than 2,800 flight cancellations, and earlier this year a strike by airfield staff at Frankfurt airport also hit Lufthansa's business. Read More