Lufthansa to Cancel 34,000 Flights from Summer Schedule
Just days after being forced to cancel over a thousand flights due to strike action, the airline is reportedly planning to cut thousands more this summer
Due to persistent staff shortages, Germany’s national airline Lufthansa reportedly plans to cancel up to 34,000 flights from its summer schedule.
News of the mass cancellations was first reported by the German newspaper WirtshaftsWoche at a time when the airline industry is facing widespread staff shortages and flight disruption. According to Lufthansa, flights on affiliate airlines such as SWISS, Austrian Airlines, and Eurowings are also likely to be affected.
One of the primary reasons for the airline industry’s current woes is that the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown of global air traffic in 2020 caused airlines and airports to enact mass staff layoffs, and many workers have yet to be replaced as demand for air travel surges. The resulting staff shortages caused widespread disruption to passengers worldwide during the summer of 2022, which Lufthansa is keen to avoid repeating this year.
Although thousands of flights from Lufthansa’s 2023 summer schedule might be scrapped, the carrier reassured passengers that all those affected by the cancellations would be informed well in advance. In addition, the airline said that canceling flights now rather than later will ensure minimal disruption to passengers caused by last-minute cancellations and delays.
A spokesperson for Lufthansa said the carrier was “adjusting its flight schedule for the summer” but did not confirm how many flights would be canceled. The spokesperson then went on to describe the reasons behind Lufthansa’s decision, citing concerns over the operational capabilities of the airline in the face of staffing “bottlenecks” which have “not yet been completely overcome.”
“The reason for the early adjustments is to avoid the major operational problems of summer 2022,” said the spokesperson. “With the experiences of the past summer, it was already decided last year to constantly review the performance of the overall system together with all partners.”
The spokesperson added, “For this reason, flights for the summer months have already been canceled – well in advance. This will enable our passengers to adjust their travel plans in line with the alternatives offered by the Lufthansa Group.”
In addition to the thousands of flights set to be canceled this summer, Lufthansa was forced to cancel more than 1,300 flights due to strike action last week. Lufthansa staff at Frankfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC), Dortmund (DTM), Hanover (HAJ), Stuttgart (STR), and Bremen (BRE) walked out on Friday, February 17th, due to a dispute over pay.
However, Michael Niggermann, an Executive Board member at Lufthansa, attempted to absolve the airline from responsibility for the strikes and instead shifted the blame onto the protesting workers.
“We are not a party to the collective bargaining and have no influence on it,” said Niggermann. “Nevertheless, our guests, and we are massively affected. More than 1,300 flight cancellations for Lufthansa Group airlines alone show once again how vulnerable and fragile the air transport system is to strike activity.”
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