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Germany: Strikes at Cologne, Düsseldorf airports

February 27, 2023

Hundreds of flights were canceled, affecting about 15,000 passengers. Strikes and protests have hit a number of European countries in recent months as the cost of living rises.

Passengers look at a screen showing canceled flights at Cologne-Bonn airport
Only a couple of flights took off from or arrived at Cologne-Bonn airport Monday when normally 15,000 passengers would travel through in the course of a dayImage: Benjamin Westhoff/REUTERS

Hundreds of flights were canceled at Germany's Cologne-Bonn and Düsseldorf airports on Monday during a strike organized by the Verdi union.

A majority of flights at the Cologne-Bonn airport were canceled, with only two out of 136 flights taking place.

If not for the cancellations, Cologne-Bonn expected around 15,000 passengers on Monday. It is the second-largest airport in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous region, after Düsseldorf.

Düsseldorf airport said only 89 flights out of 330 flights were taking place. Twenty nine were diverted to other airports and seven were rescheduled for the next day.

Why is there a strike?

Strikes and protests over a rise in the cost of living have hit a number of European countries, including France, Britain and Spain, in recent months.

"If the employers continue to be obstructionist and do not present us with results, then the reaction of the employees here is clear," a Verdi spokesperson said at the Cologne-Bonn airport.

Verdi announced the strike on Friday. The union said collective bargain efforts had failed to come closer to an agreement.

The airports were largely empty because passengers had been informed of the strike in advance and were able to change plans.

A Verdi-led industrial action also led to flight cancellations at several major airports, including Frankfurt and Munich, earlier this month.

Cities in the western state of North Rhine Westphalia, including Cologne and Bonn, were also affected by public service worker strikes on Monday.

Verdi said that an agreement with the federal government and local authorities was a long way off.

sdi/ar (Reuters, dpa)

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