Monday, February 20, 2012

Traveler's Update: Ground Strike at Frankfurt Airport Extended Until 2/22

As a follow-up to yesterday's posting concerning the ground strike at Frankfurt Airport, striking workers are extending their stoppage until Wednesday (February 22) in a bid to turn up pressure in their pay dispute.

Following two days of warning strikes last week, the GdF union for air traffic workers said that a third round of stoppages, originally planned to run for 24 hours from 0400 GMT Monday, would now be extended for an additional 48 hours.

Although 240 of a total 1,250 flights were canceled today (February 20), FRA was still able to keep 80% of its scheduled flights in the air, which totals nearly 1,000.

COMMENT: The wage dispute concerns 200 so-called "apron control" staff who direct aircraft in and out of their parking positions both in the control tower and on the tarmac.

The strikes kicked off Thursday, grounding 172 flights, and intensified Friday with 280 flights canceled, 250 of them by German flag-carrier, Lufthansa, which uses Frankfurt as its primary hub. A spokeswoman for Lufthansa said that 200 flights would be cancelled on Monday, followed by a further 160 on Tuesday.

It should be noted that GdF, which also represents air traffic controllers, is demanding pay rises of 25-50%, depending on a worker's wage level, as well as increased bonuses and reduced working hours.

Frankfurt Airport is Europe's third busiest after Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle.

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