Lufthansa grounded by strike at German airports

Mon Apr 22, 2013 12:18pm EDT
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By Victoria Bryan and Peter Maushagen

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany's largest airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE: Quote) was virtually grounded on Monday by a second strike in a month over pay.

The carrier scrapped 1,700 flights, leaving only about 30 operating, after all-day stoppages at Germany's biggest airports, including Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg and Berlin.

Unlike other strikes over the past couple of years, Lufthansa canceled the majority of its long-haul flights.

"That's 150,000 passengers we are unable to carry today," Lufthansa personnel executive Stefan Lauer said, standing in front of a departure board at Frankfurt showing a swath of canceled flights.

Lufthansa said air traffic would return to normal on Tuesday, with only occasional disruptions expected.

Germany's airports and railways have been hit repeatedly over the past two years by strikes involving pilots, control tower staff, airfield workers, security staff and train drivers.

The emergence of smaller trade unions and years of pay restraint have resulted in tough negotiations and more strikes.

"We want to call on the union to end this madness. Germany's transport sector is becoming the laughing stock of Europe," Lauer said.   Continued...

Lufthansa planes are pictured at Frankfurt Airport February 22, 2010. REUTERS/Johannes Eisele