Lufthansa strike affects flights to and from the Middle East
A Lufthansa pilots’ strike has hit flights throughout the region.
The strike, which started yesterday and is due to end tomorrow, led to the cancellation of 1,350 flights yesterday, affecting 150,000 passengers
Among the cancelled flights were routes that included Dubai-Munich, Frankfurt-Dubai and Dubai-Frankfurt. Flights from Frankfurt to Abu Dhabi and Muscat to Abu Dhabi were also cancelled.
Flights to and from Frankfurt and Cairo, Beirut, and Tehran have been cancelled for today and tomorrow, according to the airline.
The German pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit had called for a two-day strike starting at noon yesterday, with normal services resuming tomorrow.
“The strike announcement by Vereinigung Cockpit again lacks all reasonableness and unfortunately again severely affects our customers,” said Lufthansa. “We request the immediate continuation of discussions – Lufthansa is ready any time to do this.”
The dispute between the embattled carrier and the pilot’s union revolves around a disagreement over retirement benefits. The strike is the ninth for the union this year.
The row has already slashed €160 million (Dh732.7m) from the airline’s revenues, according to Reuters.
Lufthansa’s industrial relations woes coincide with mounting competition from Arabian Gulf carriers such as Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.
Qatar Airways will soon deploy Airbus A350 aircraft to fly from Doha to Frankfurt. Emirates also plans services to Berlin, and Etihad, which owns a near 30 per cent stake in Air Berlin, is awaiting a review of its codeshare agreement with its German partner.
Lufthansa has previously alleged that Gulf carriers receive unfair state subsidies and government support – a claim that they have rejected.
In a 139-page report published in 2012, Emirates claimed that more than 18,000 jobs in Germany were dependent on the economic activities of the carrier, while the value of money spent by incoming tourists carried by Emirates exceeded €1.6 billion each year.
Tamur Goudarzi, vice president for the Middle East, Africa and south-east Europe, yesterday told Bloomberg that his company planned to add capacity to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
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Published: December 1, 2014 04:00 AM