Lufthansa says it will cancel 930 flights affecting 113,000 passengers because of a cabin crew strike, after a union announced a walk-out at three of the German airline's major airports for almost the entire day. Grace Pascoe reports.
113,000- that's how many Lufthansa passengers remain grounded following strike action. And this time it's cabin crew - not pilots - who have walked out - over early retirement benefits and pensions. Nicoley Baublies is head of the UFO union. (SOUNDBITE) (German) HEAD OF CABIN CREW UNION "UFO," NICOLEY BAUBLIES, SAYING: "It's impressive because a lot more colleagues are participating in this strike than there are union members. 95 percent of all flights affected by the strike have been cancelled. Lufthansa has not even managed to maintain an emergency schedule. It shows how angry people are." 930 flights have been cancelled at Frankfurt, Munich and Dusseldorf airports. And the week-long strike is set to be longest ever experienced by the German flagship Shares are down 2.2 percent. Lufthansa spokesman Andreas Bartels. (SOUNDBITE) (German) LUFTHANSA SPOKESMAN, ANDREAS BARTELS, SAYING: "We made a very concrete offer and we already fulfilled all requests made by UFO (cabin crew union) for the staff employed by Lufthansa. Now the question is what UFO demands on top of that. Here, we have to find a solution today or rather, a proposal on how to deal with that." Lufthansa's top management is keen for a solution. But with competition fierce from low-cost rivals and wealthy Gulf carriers. Cost-cutting is needed for them to compete.