Freight services weather latest Lufthansa strikes


Lufthansa Cargo says all freighter flights operated normally despite a pilots’ strike on Tuesday 8 September and Wednesday 9 September which severely curtailed passenger flights and affected some bellyhold capacity.

The pilots are striking over retirement benefits, pay and Lufthansa’s plans to expand low-cost operations. The striking pilots, represented by the union, Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), want Lufthansa to halt the expansion of its low-cost carrier, Eurowings, which has an Austria operating licence, while negotiations continue.

Lufthansa Cargo tells Air Cargo Week: “We were able to operate all seven scheduled freighter flights on Tuesday despite Vereinigung Cockpit calling for a strike at Lufthansa Cargo.

“On Wednesday the union only called short haul pilots of Lufthansa passenger airlines to strike so it had no impact on our freighter operations. Overall we were able to keep impact on our customers very limited,” it adds.

Lufthansa said the willingness of many pilots to work despite the strike call, which is part of a long-running row over cost-cutting, meant all scheduled cargo flights on both days were performed as normal.

After the second day of action, which grounded around 1,000 passenger flights and affected 140,000 travellers, VC said more strikes would come if management did not improve its offer.

The union says: “Despite the wide-ranging offer of VC in the amount of 500 million euro [$559 million], there is no agreement will on the part of Lufthansa.”

As of 9 September, the strike action was prohibited with immediate effect after Lufthansa gained an injunction from the State Labour Court, the Hessisches Landesarbeitsgericht (LAG). Lufthansa says services will return to normal tomorrow (Thursday 10 September).

Commenting on the injunction, VC says: “The judgment of the LAG is incomprehensible for us.”

It adds: “We have cancelled today’s [9 September] strike in the short and medium range of Lufthansa and Germanwings immediately. Nevertheless, Lufthansa must understand that you can not solve the problems with the staff in this way.”

The union says the judgement contradicts previous rulings on the legality of the strike action.

Lufthansa says more than 500 Lufthansa flights operated as normal and the services of Germanwings, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines were not affected.