Deutsche Lufthansa aims to return to almost normal operations on Saturday after the conclusion of the airline’s longest-ever strike in a protracted labor dispute that led to thousands of cancellations.
The airline dropped more than 900 connections on Friday, bringing the total number of flights canceled during the week-long walkout by flights attendants to 4,700. The UFO cabin crew union is planning a rally Friday in Frankfurt and has said that it may call additional strikes to press management into accepting its demands in the labor dispute.
Flight attendants and pilots are fighting Chief Executive Officer Carsten Spohr’s efforts to overhaul Lufthansa and develop the Eurowings division into a low-cost arm to compete with rivals such as Ryanair and EasyJet. Spohr has stuck with that strategy even as mainline brand employees have resisted, viewing the potential gains as being worth the immediate hit. Kepler Cheuvreux estimates the financial impact of the current cabin crew strikes at about €100 million. The airline said the walkouts impacted flights for 550,000 customers.
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“Lufthansa would like to sincerely apologise again to all customers who have been affected,” the airline said in a statement. “The company has done its utmost to keep the effects on its customers as low as possible.”
Lufthansa’s latest offer to UFO included a one-time payment of 3,000 euros per employee and acceptance of the union’s demands on early retirements, but only for current workers. The carrier also said it will scale back flights, a proposal that UFO called a “provocation.”
News by Bloomberg, edited by Hospitality Ireland