Over 2,300 flights cancelled, strikes paralyse German airports, public transport

FRANKFURT, 18 Feb 2023:

A strike yesterday paralysed air traffic at seven major airports in Germany – including the EU’s busiest, Frankfurt.

Over 2,300 flights have been cancelled, with some 300,000 passengers expected to be affected by the 24-hour, multi-sector strike – by ground staff, air traffic controllers and public sector workers – called by Germany’s second-largest trade union Verdi to demand better pay and working conditions.

Local public transport has also been affected, with tram, underground and bus services in Frankfurt all severely reduced yesterday.

The strike has also impacted the airport in Munich – Germany’s second busiest hub – where an international security conference gathering thousands of delegates and reporters is being held yesterday and today.

Planes carrying official representatives are not expected to be affected – but many other international speakers and journalists were forced to make last-minute travel arrangements, with many re-routing to Nuremberg.

In addition to Frankfurt and Munich, passenger traffic was almost completely suspended in Stuttgart, Dortmund, Hannover, Bremen and Hamburg.

While Berlin’s Brandenberg airport was not affected yesterday, it did see a similar strike action last month.

“If nothing changes on pay, then another chaotic summer awaits us all — and we must prevent that as a matter of urgency,” Verdi vice president Christine Behle, told RBB radio in Berlin.

The union is demanding wage increases of 10.5% for the 2.5 million employees of the German central administration and municipalities, while regional and federal agreements for the transport and airport security sectors are being renegotiated.

The airport employers’ association ADV described the strike, which was called on Wednesday, as an “unprecedented escalation” and said that according to its estimates, it has forced the cancellation of 2,340 flights – grounding nearly 300,000 passengers.

Flights carrying humanitarian aid for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria will not be affected by the strike.