Lufthansa axes up to 800 flights TOMORROW due to pilots’ strike, hitting 7,000 people on UK flights


German airline Lufthansa has cancelled around 800 flights tomorrow – including dozens serving the UK – due to a pilots’ strike.

Around 7,000 passengers booked on the carrier’s UK flights will be disrupted.

All 34 of Lufthansa’s services connecting Heathrow with Frankfurt and Munich are to be grounded, in addition to 11 flights between Manchester and Germany.

Affected passengers are entitled to be flown to their final destination as soon as possible.

They may also be entitled to compensation, as consumer groups do not believe cancellations due to strikes by airline employees fall under the ‘extraordinary circumstances’ exemption.

German airline Lufthansa has cancelled around 800 flights on Friday - including dozens serving the UK - due to a pilots´ strike (Bayne Stanley/Alamy Stock Photo/PA)

German airline Lufthansa has cancelled around 800 flights on Friday – including dozens serving the UK – due to a pilots´ strike (Bayne Stanley/Alamy Stock Photo/PA)

Families' hopes for a half-term holiday were thrown into chaos last week as Heathrow Airport extended its passenger cap to the end of October. Pictured, passengers queuing to check-in at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport on 25 August

Families’ hopes for a half-term holiday were thrown into chaos last week as Heathrow Airport extended its passenger cap to the end of October. Pictured, passengers queuing to check-in at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport on 25 August

Vereinigung Cockpit (VC), a trade union representing Lufthansa’s pilots, announced the walkout on Thursday in a row over pay.

VC is demanding a 5.5% pay rise this year for its more than 5,000 pilots and automatic inflation compensation thereafter.

‘We hope to get back to negotiations as soon as possible,’ a Lufthansa spokesperson said today. ‘However, we cannot bear the cost increases associated with VC’s demands either,’ he added.

VC accused bosses of failing to improve on their previous proposal.

Matthias Baier, a spokesman for the union, said: ‘Aware of our responsibility for companies and guests, we wanted to leave no stone unturned and offered another negotiation date despite an inadequate offer and failed negotiations.

‘We did not receive a sufficient offer today either. This is sobering and a missed opportunity. The negotiations have failed.

The suspension of sales on domestic or European tickets was implemented by British Airways at the beginning of August to allow for existing customers to rebook cancelled flights. Pictured, a busy Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport on 23 August

The suspension of sales on domestic or European tickets was implemented by British Airways at the beginning of August to allow for existing customers to rebook cancelled flights. Pictured, a busy Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport on 23 August

‘The only thing left for us to do is to reinforce our demands with a labour dispute.’

Lufthansa said it has offered to raise pilots’ monthly base salaries by 900 euros (£777), and claimed the union’s demands would ‘would increase payroll costs by more than 40%’.

The airline’s labour director Michael Niggemann said: ‘We cannot understand VC’s call for a strike.

‘The management has made a very good and socially balanced offer – despite the continuing burdens of the Covid crisis and uncertain prospects for the global economy.

‘This escalation comes at the expense of many thousands of customers.’

The walkout follows a fraught summer for UK holidaymakers with thousands of flights cancelled by airlines including British Airways, Easyjet and TUI, while lengthy queues at airports and problems with missing luggage have been widely reported. 

Lufthansa itself has cancelled several thousand UK flights earlier this summer and has faced staff shortages, after coming close to insolvency during the Covid pandemic.

British Airways was revealed to have cancelled the most flights out of all UK carriers, cutting nearly 30,000 flights from their summer schedule.

After a summer of disruption, passenger caps are threatening further flight cancellations just as families look to get away for the October school holidays. Pictured, chaos in Gatwick Airport on 22 August

After a summer of disruption, passenger caps are threatening further flight cancellations just as families look to get away for the October school holidays. Pictured, chaos in Gatwick Airport on 22 August

Gatwick has also capped the number of departing flights over the summer, with other airports such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Frankfurt airports following suit. Gatwick airport chaos is pictured on 24 August

Gatwick has also capped the number of departing flights over the summer, with other airports such as Amsterdam’s Schiphol and Frankfurt airports following suit. Gatwick airport chaos is pictured on 24 August

At the height of the chaos, British Airways cancelled 3.5 per cent of their schedule compared to budget airline Ryanair which axed a mere 0.3 per cent, according to data obtained by Sky News.

The airline had suffered from staff shortages and absences after cutting 10,000 jobs in 2020.

A shortage of airport staff has also been cited by as recurring issue across UK airports, with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) citing ‘chaos at airports’ as a consequence.

Heathrow Airport earned renewed criticism last month after it announced its daily passenger cap would extend into October – meaning up to one million seats could be axed from airline schedules.

The suspension of sales on domestic or European tickets was implemented by British Airways at the beginning of August to allow earlier customers to rebook their cancelled flights.

The draconian measure was set to end on September 11 after it was brought in last month over fears airlines cannot safely handle more passengers due to staff shortages. It will now last until October 29.

Flight disruptions fuelled by staffing shortages and the rising post-pandemic travel demand has plagued the aviation industry over the past year. Analysts have warned holidaymakers to expect to keep battling travel chaos until at least next spring. Wizz Air travellers are pictured on August 21

Flight disruptions fuelled by staffing shortages and the rising post-pandemic travel demand has plagued the aviation industry over the past year. Analysts have warned holidaymakers to expect to keep battling travel chaos until at least next spring. Wizz Air travellers are pictured on August 21

Low-cost airline Wizz Air was the worst air carrier for flight delays from UK airports last year, an investigation has found.

The Hungarian carrier’s UK departures were an average of 14 minutes and 24 seconds behind schedule in 2021, according to analysis of Civil Aviation Authority data.

The no-frills carrier operates short-haul flights from 10 UK airports including Gatwick and Luton in LondonEdinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast International. 

Tui Airways – which charters flights from from the UK and Ireland to destinations in Europe, Africa, Asia and North America – recorded the second worst punctuality, with an average delay of 13 minutes and 18 seconds.

This was followed by British Airways (12 minutes and 42 seconds) – including its subsidiary BA CityFlyer – Virgin Atlantic (12 minutes) and Loganair (11 minutes and 30 seconds).

But the two most-used airlines by UK passengers, easyJet and Ryanair – which like Wizz operate on a no-frills model – were among the leading performers in terms of punctuality.

Ultra-low-cost airline Wizz Air was the worst air carrier for flight delays from UK airports last year, an investigation has found. The two most used airlines by UK passengers, easyJet and Ryanair, were among the leading performers in terms of punctuality

Ultra-low-cost airline Wizz Air was the worst air carrier for flight delays from UK airports last year, an investigation has found. The two most used airlines by UK passengers, easyJet and Ryanair, were among the leading performers in terms of punctuality

Wizz Air flyers are pictured at Luton Airport on Sunday afternoon in a queue that social media users say lasted more than an hour. Experts have warned 'airlines, airports and air traffic control teams need to work together far more closely and ensure that flying becomes more seamless and more enjoyable for us all'

Wizz Air flyers are pictured at Luton Airport on Sunday afternoon in a queue that social media users say lasted more than an hour. Experts have warned ‘airlines, airports and air traffic control teams need to work together far more closely and ensure that flying becomes more seamless and more enjoyable for us all’

Flight punctuality: UK airlines with longest average delay per flight in 2021

  1. Wizz Air: 14 minutes and 24 seconds 
  2. Tui Airways: 13 minutes and 18 seconds
  3. British Airways: 12 minutes and 42 seconds
  4. Virgin Atlantic: 12 minutes 
  5. Loganair: 11 minutes and 30 seconds
  6. Air France: 11 minutes and 12 seconds
  7. Lufthansa: 10 minutes
  8. KLM: Eight minutes and 42 seconds
  9. Eastern Airways: Seven minutes and 48 seconds
  10. Jet2.com: Seven minutes and 42 seconds 
  11. American Airlines: Seven minutes
  12. Ryanair: Six minutes and six seconds
  13. EasyJet: Four minutes and 36 seconds
  14. Aer Lingus: Three minutes and 12 seconds

Flight disruptions fuelled by staffing shortages and the rising post-pandemic travel demand has plagued the aviation industry over the past year.

While holidaymakers are facing long airport queues, inflated fare prices and significant disruptions to their travel plans, analysts have found that some airlines have been better at managing disarray than others.

EasyJet had the second shortest average delay per flight of four minutes and 36 seconds, while Ryanair was in third place with six minutes and six seconds.

Only Ireland’s flag carrier Aer Lingus performed better, with a typical delay of just three minutes and 12 seconds.

The average delay was eight and a half minutes per flight.

Analysis by PA conducted earlier this summer found that Birmingham was the UK’s worst airport for flight delays last year.

The analysis took into account all scheduled and chartered departures from UK airports by airlines with more than 2,500 flights. Cancelled flights were not included.

Punctuality across the aviation industry in 2021 was better than before the coronavirus pandemic due to the reduction in flights caused by travel restrictions.

But the situation has deteriorated this year, with staff shortages causing major problems for several airports and airlines, leading to tens of thousands of flights being cancelled.

Guy Hobbs, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: ‘While these findings are worrying, the reality has actually been far worse for many travellers this summer.

‘Holidaymakers have faced a barrage of disruption over the last few months, and these latest figures only serve to underline the need for urgent reform of the travel industry.

‘The Government must drop plans to slash passenger compensation for delayed and cancelled domestic flights.’



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