Travel: Week of disruption in EU skies,800 flights grounded

Lufthansa cancels 400 tomorrow,Iberia more than 400 Thursday

27 March, 10:01

(ANSAmed) - ROME, MARCH 27 - A week of disruption lies ahead for air traffic in Europe. Two of the continent's biggest airlines, Lufthansa and Iberia, are grounding a total of more than 800 flights between today and Thursday due to nationally called strikes. The German airline is grounding 400 flights today because of a strike by baggage sorting and security staff in Germany's airports, the company's spokesperson, Sandra Kraft, told Bloomberg. Frankfurt airport will be hardest hit, with striking staff downing tools in the morning for a duration of nine and a half hours. In other German airports, the strike will be shorter. The protest has been called by the Verdi trade union, which is demanding higher salaries for public sector employees.

On Thursday, disruption will move to Spain, where Iberia today announced that 400 flights will be cancelled due to a general strike called by unions against the reform of the employment market launched by the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy. The majority of the grounded flights are managed directly by Iberia, with the rest operated by subsidiaries, in particular Air Nostrum. A spokesperson said that 222 of Iberia's 342 scheduled flights would be cancelled, while Air Nostrum has grounded 202.

Iberia says that it has "made prices more flexible in order, where possible, to facilitate the exchange of tickets for clients affected by the cancellations, or reimbursements if no alternative can be found". Minimum operating service agreed with the Ministry of Transport will see 10% of national flights and 20% of connections with Europe operating during the general strike. (ANSAmed).

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