Lufthansa Friday flight cancellations see protests at Delhi Airport

NEW DELHI: There was ruckus at Delhi Airport in the early hours of Friday when nearly 700 passengers — mostly students headed to North America — realised their connecting Lufthansa flights to Frankfurt and Munich had been cancelled. Many of these passengers resorted to sloganeering both inside and outside the terminal and police had to be called in to control the situation, say airport sources.
Lufthansa, which has been among European carriers facing strike calls in past few months by various sections of organised employee Unions like ground staff, cabin crew and pilots, had on Thursday announced cancellation of nearly 800 flights that were to operate on Friday (Sept 2). The impact of this one-day strike is expected to last till Sunday (Sept 4) in terms of accommodating affected passengers on other options.
Scores of Indian students head out to join colleges abroad every fall and the agitated ones were clearly upset at not being able to join their varsities on time this fall.

A Delhi Police official said: “Senior police officials, including the DCP and SHOs of both the (airport) police stations, reached the spot and intervened to open channels of communication between airlines and passengers and the situation was normalised.”
The German carrier had said in a statement on Thursday:“The strike announced by the pilots’ union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) for Friday (September 2) will have a massive impact on flight operations. Lufthansa has to cancel 800 flights at its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich for Friday.… An estimated 1.3 lakh passengers will be affected.… Lufthansa is working with joint forces to return its flight operations to a normal status as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, the effects of the strike may still lead to individual flight cancellations or delays this Saturday and Sunday.”
Michael Niggemann, chief human resources officer and labour director of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, 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 Lufthansa Group says it has hiked pilot salaries.
European airports have been a mess this entire summer as they were unable to handle the sharp revival in travel due ot reasons like employee shortage and then strikes. Lufthansa had to cancel all its flights to and from Frankfurt and Munich on July 27 due to a strike by groud staff union “ver.di”.
The impact of a one-day strike begins earlier and lasts for next 2-3 days. For instance a strike on September 2 means a majority of international flights (including India) that operate out of Frankfurt and Munich on September 1 will not see operate the return leg back to the German hubs. Then the flights out of the two hubs on September 2 will not operate. And on September 3, the flights flying back to Frankfurt and Munich will be resumed with intended schedule of September 3. So a one-day strike leaves behind a trail of cancelled flights with scores of affected passengers.