Thursday 18 October 2018
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ZongoNews Radio

Airport strike grounds hundreds of flights in Germany

Cape Town – Hundreds of flights in Germany have been cancelled for Tuesday due to a union labour strike at its airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne and Bremen.

SAA’s German flights have also been affected and will continue with only certain flights. Due to the lack of ground staff at German airports, the following conditions will be placed on flights:

Only customers that have the necessary travel documents to enter Germany would be accepted
No customers travelling beyond Frankfurt and Munich would be accepted
No customers requiring special assistance would be accepted
No customers requiring wheelchairs or have approved medical clearance to travel would be accepted
No unaccompanied minors or young passengers requiring a meet and assist would be accepted
SEE: Fifth strike for 2018 hits Air France passengers

Only the following flights will run on Tuesday:

SA261/10APR Frankfurt (FRA) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SA265/10APR Munich (MUC) – Johannesburg (JNB)
SAA will try and accommodate passengers that are affected where possible with an option to rebook on a later flight at no extra charge, for SAA flights only. Rerouting is permitted with prescribed conditions and tickets must be reissued and commence on or before 30 April 2018.

Please contact the help centre for more assistance: +27 11 978 1111 or 0861 606 606 or +49 69 299 803 20 (Germany).

Lufthansa cancels more than 800 flights
Lufthansa has also been forced to cancel more than 800 flights going to and from the European country, which is expected to have a knock-on effect in the rest of Europe. This includes 58 long-haul flights and will affect about 90 000 passengers, with operations expected to return to normal on Wednesday.

In the meantime, Lufthansa posted an alternative flight schedule and passengers need to check the status of their flight on their website unless the airline contacts them directly. They also advise adding travel time going the German airports as lengthy delays are expected with the reduced ground staff.

Anyone with booked flights for Tuesday going to or from Frankfurt and Munich will be able to rebook their flight free of charge within the next seven days. For domestic flights, passengers can convert their flight ticket to a train ticket on the website as well.

Lufthansa has heavily criticised the strike and the government for allowing it.

„It is completely unacceptable for the union to impose this conflict on uninvolved passengers. Lufthansa is not a part of this collective bargaining conflict, but unfortunately our customers and our company are being affected by the consequences of this dispute,“ says Bettina Volkens, member of the Executive Board for Human Resources and Legal Affairs of Lufthansa.

„Politicians and legislators must define clear rules for strikes and industrial actions,“ demands Volkens. „We regret that the travel plans of so many customers are being affected by this ver.di strike and we are working on minimising the impact as much as possible“.

The striking union – ver.di – is disputing pay in German public-sector jobs that also include utility companies, kindergartens and municipal administrations. The union is demanding a 6%, or at least €200 (about R2 966 at R14,83/€) per month, pay rise for some 2.3 million public-sector employees, including airport workers.