Lufthansa cabin staff will strike throughout Germany on Friday, upping the stakes in a battle over pay and conditions that threatens to drag on for weeks and cost Germany’s biggest airline tens of millions of euros.
Airline’s flight attendants walked off the job at Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin airports Tuesday, forcing Lufthansa to cancel hundreds more flights and stranding thousands of passengers in an escalating labor dispute that comes as the largest German airline struggles to stave off threats from budget carriers and government-owned Gulf airlines.
But Lufthansa didn’t show any signs of budging, despite already losing millions through the strike. It issued a statement criticizing UFO of waging the labor battle “at the expense of its customers,” noting the union’s strategy so far of only announcing strikes a few hours ahead of time makes it impossible for people to make alternate plans.
Lufthansa’s Austrian Airlines unit, unaffected by the strikes because its staff are on separate contracts, said it was using larger aircraft on routes to Germany to help out its parent.
Most of the cancelled services were on short- and medium-haul routes but about a third of intercontinental flights — including services to and from Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Beijing and Mexico City — were also axed.
Juergen Pieper, an analyst with Bankhaus Metzler, estimated the airline is losing around €3 million to €5 million ($3.77 million to $6.29 million) per day on the strike.