Lufthansa is apologizing to customers ahead of time for the widespread disruption expected Friday during a 24-hour walkout by flight attendants.
The German airline has announced on its website that nearly 1,000 of its 1,800 scheduled flights will be cancelled on Friday because of a 24-hour strike by cabin crew demanding pay rises and better job protection.
Hopes of a last-minute compromise have evaporated. Both the airline and the Ufo union say talks have broken down, with a suggestion now being made that a mediator be called in to help bridge their differences.
Still the German airline is making it clear it’s up to the union to return to negotiations.
The 28 takeoffs from North and Latin America, as well as three others from Asian cities, are among the nearly 50 flights scratched before the strike begins. Lufthansa has said that even when crew are available, it needs to adjust its timetables to cope with disruption.
Airline spokesman Andreas Bartels said it was too late to salvage the economic losses from Friday’s planned strike, as the extra price of rebooking Lufthansa passengers onto other carriers had already been spent. Lufthansa carries 170,000 passengers on a typical Friday.
Passengers on all Germany-bound long-haul flights have already been moved onto other connections. Lufthansa is still looking for replacement capacity for outbound and short-haul connections.
Lufthansa has cancelled about 1,200 flights Friday, two-thirds of its schedule. Ads in several German newspapers on Thursday said- “We regret this very much and apologize for it.”
The airline added- “We consider this strike disproportionate.”
On Tuesday, several-hour walkouts by Lufthansa cabin crews in Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin caused about 350 flight cancellations.
Although some cabin crew are not union members and are expected to work on Friday, Lufthansa says 80 per cent of crews refused to work during two limited strikes on Friday last week and on Tuesday.
Lufthansa and the UFO union are at odds over pay and conditions as the airline struggles with increasingly tough competition from European budget carriers and government-owned Gulf airlines. Lufthansa underlined hopes of “more competitive structures in future.”