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Eurowings pilots begin 3-day strike

October 17, 2022

Thousands of travelers are expected to be affected by the work stoppage, but the Lufthansa budget airline Eurowings said it still hoped to operate more than half of its planned flights.

Travelers queue at the Eurowings check-in desk
Flight cancelations were expected to affect roughly 20,000 travelersImage: Roberto Pfeil/dpa/picture alliance

Eurowings pilots began a three-day strike on Monday in their latest action to demand better wages and working conditions.

The budget subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa said a day earlier that it was keen to minimize the impact of the strike on its flight operations. However, thousands of passengers are expected to be affected.

Images from airports in the German cities of Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Cologne showed Eurowings passengers packed in long lines at check-in and information desks.

The airline had announced it expected to operate some 230 flights of the 400 scheduled for Monday.

Eurowings asked passengers to check the status of their flights, promising to also operate nearly half the flights scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

View of the display board with cancelled Eurowings flights
Eurowings had said it would cancel 170 of 400 scheduled flights at airports in Düsseldorf, Cologne, Hamburg and StuttgartImage: Sascha Thelen/dpa/picture alliance

What did the pilots' union say? 

Pilots are walking out after the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union, which represents almost 10,000 pilots and flight engineers from German airlines, refused an offer proposed by the airline for more rest times.

The strike kicked off Monday as "there is no new offer" from Eurowings to the pilots, said a spokesperson for the VC.

"This strike would not be necessary if Eurowings would negotiate with us on an equal footing," the union said in an earlier statement.

Eurowings offered 10 extra days of vacation annually and three hours less work each week, which VC said was still insufficient. The airline stressed its offer was nonnegotiable, saying any further reductions would not be "economically justifiable."

How will the airline operate amid the strike?

Eurowings said it had worked hard over the weekend to secure assistance from its partners during the strike.

The airline also said that neither Eurowings Europe, which is based in Austria, nor Eurowings Discover, which operates from Frankfurt and Munich, will take part in the strike.

previous Eurowings strike earlier in October forced the cancelation of roughly half of the airlines' 500 daily domestic and European flights, stranding some 30,000 passengers.

In September, Lufthansa had to cancel 800 flights when pilots from the main carrier went on strike, affecting schedules in the major hubs of Frankfurt and Munich in particular.

A threatened walkout by ground staff had forced the company to cancel more than 1,000 flights in August.

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on October 16, 2022.

Staff shortages cause airport chaos

fb, rmt/rc, rs (AFP, dpa, Reuters)