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Lufthansa: IT breakdown and strike lead to cancellations and delays for thousands of passengers

A widespread strike among German airport staff comes shortly after the German airline Lufthansa was hit by IT failures on Wednesday. It led to extensive delays and disruptions Lufthansa passengers.

Thousands of Lufthansa flight passengers were stranded on Wednesday 15 February due to a global IT system failure.

Just two days later, on Friday 17 February, the company had to cancel all its flights from seven German airports after the German trade union Verdi called for an one-day strike by members in aviation security, ground handling and public services.

The strike will impact Frankfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC), Stuttgart (STR), Hamburg (HAM), Dortmund (DTM), Hannover (HAJ) and Bremen (BRE).

Two thirds of all Germany’s air traffic is operated from one of these seven airports.

The German trade union Verdi is demanding a 10.5% wage increase for its members. Verdi does not believe that the companies increased their employees’ wages enough in the wake of the corona pandemic and the chaos at airports in Europe in the summer of 2022.

According to Verdi, the employers have been offered a wage increase of 4.1% from 1 October 2023 with a term of 27 months.

In a press release on Lufthansa’s website, the company apologizes for the cancellations:

“We regret the enormous impact of this warning strike which is being carried out at the expense of our passengers, said Michael Niggemann, Member of the Executive Board and Chief Officer Human Resources & Infrastructure Lufthansa Group.“We are not a party to the collective bargaining and have no influence on it – nevertheless, our guests and we are massively affected.”

A total of 2,340 flights have been cancelled by the affected airlines, disrupting the journeys of more than 295,000 passengers, according to the German airport association ADV.

Lufthansa offers alternative connections and rebooking on rail “where possible”.

Lufthansa expects regular flights operations to be “largely back to normal” on Saturday 18 February.

Damage glass fibre cables paralyzed air traffic at Lufthansa Wednesday

Wednesday 15 February Lufthansa was forced to delay and cancel flights, which affected tens of thousands of passengers with connections via Frankfurt.

The breakdown was accordingly caused by a cable getting slit during rail construction work on an S-Bahn line in Frankfurt. It led to a failure in Lufthansa’s computer systems. In Frankfurt, 242 of approximately 1,000 scheduled flights were cancelled early in the evening.

All domestic flights were cancelled. International flights were also affected by the breakdown.

The IT failure created problems with check-in and boarding.

All airlines in the Lufthansa group was affected. In addition to Lufthansa, the Lufthansa Group owns six other airlines, including Eurowings, Brussels Airlines and Swiss and Edelweiss Air.

Passengers affected by the system disruption on domestic flights in Germany were asked to book a train ticket and apply for a refund on the Lufthansa website.

SAS hit by serious cyber attack Tuesday

The Scandinavian airline SAS also faced headwinds last week.

A serious cyber attack on February 14 Tuesday evening was responsible for both the company’s website and app being down for several hours. This was stated in a press release.

SAS urged customers not to log in and use their app, as this could leak other users’ credit card and travel information. The problem is solved now.

However, it is still unknown who was behind the attack. SAS assures that they are investigating the matter.

“We always cooperate with the national CAA (Civil Aviation Agency), police, and security police when security matters are concerned – irrespective of the issue in question. We are monitoring the situation closely and continue the work to analyze and evaluate the attack and related consequences, as well as take preventive measures.”

Also read about the 3 most common reasons for flight delays.

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