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Thousands of passengers grounded as Lufthansa cabin crew walk out

By Amanda Cooper

Lufthansa sees profits drop, steps up cost-cutting

Nearly 180,000 passengers have had flights cancelled, due to a strike by cabin crew at German airline Lufthansa, after a court on Thursday ruled the walk-out to be legal.

Lufthansa, which separately on Thursday reported a 43 per cent slide in profits this year, is already in the throes of a steep cost-cutting exercise as it battles tough competition in Europe from the likes of Ryanair and easyJet.

Members of the Independent Flight Attendant’s Union (UFO) have staged a 48-hour walk-out in protest against working conditions and pay that forced the grounding of 1,300 flights.

Lufthansa, which is Europe’s largest airline by passenger numbers, had challenged the motion in a Frankfurt labour court, but the company’s appeal was unsuccessful.

“Lufthansa representatives were neither willing to agree to the proposal for conciliation, nor to hold concrete negotiations. As a result, 1,300 flights have been cancelled,” UFO said in a statement.

On its website, the UFO said it had accepted an offer by Lufthansa to negotiate, meaning the strike would not be widened for now.

Lufthansa said it expected the stoppage to affect around 180,000 customers.

The company reported a drop in net profit in the first nine months of the year to €1.038 billion, from €1.38 billion, due to higher fuel prices and overcapacity in Europe, which is facing broad economic slowdown. For the third quarter, the company reported a 1 per cent fall in adjusted net profit to €1.3 billion, and a drop of 2.1 per cent in unit costs.

Lufthansa said it expects the European market to contract by 1.1 per cent in winter, while growth in longer-haul destinations in Asia and the Middle East/Africa is expected to rise to 2 per cent and 5 per cent, respectively.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG
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