Business, Finance & Economics

Frankfurt Airport braces for new round of strikes from Sunday


Apron workers guide a jet at the airport in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on February 20, 2012. Some 200 apron workers went on strike again in the morning for 48 hours forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights. AFP PHOTO / DANIEL ROLAN


Daniel Roland

Frankfurt Airport is expecting a new round of labor strikes starting Sunday night, with flight cancelations and delays expected at Europe's third-busiest airport.

(GlobalPost reports: Frankfurt Airport workers to strike again, starting Feb. 26)

Pay talks between Frankfurt Airport management and about 200 apron control staff — who direct aircraft in and out of their parking positions both from the control tower and on the tarmac — have again broken down, Agence France-Presse reported.

The workers, who have been striking since February 16, want higher pay, increased bonuses and shorter working hours, according to AFP.

MarketWatch quoted Frankfurt Airport's operator, Fraport AG, as saying the strike action was "excessive and incomprehensible."

It said Fraport had made a "good offer," though not the double-digit salary rise the German labor union GdF was demanding. Neither party has specified their demands.

GdF said in a statement the next strike would start at 8 p.m. local time Sunday, Feb. 26, and last until 4 a.m. on Thursday, March 1.

Frankfurt Airport is Germany's main hub and Europe's third-busiest airport after London-Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle.

A spokesman for Lufthansa told Reuters late Saturday that long-haul flights would be given priority during the strike. A list of Monday's flight cancelations would be available on its website from Sunday afternoon, it said.

"As the strike begins late, we expect minimal impact for Sunday, with virtually no cancelations. For Monday we expect there will be some cancelations if a strike does go ahead," he said.

Lufthansa was the worst hit by the last strike that started on Feb. 16 and ran until Feb. 22 with a break over the weekend after Fraport wrote to the union offering talks.

About 1,200 flights were canceled, although the airport was kept operational by Fraport's deployment of other employees to the striking workers' duties.