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Frankfurt Operating 80% of Flights on Third Day of Strikes

A parked Lufthansa AG airplane is seen as another one lands on the tarmac at Frankfurt International Airport in Frankfurt. Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg
A parked Lufthansa AG airplane is seen as another one lands on the tarmac at Frankfurt International Airport in Frankfurt. Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Frankfurt airport, the third-busiest in Europe, said it hasn’t been “incapacitated” today as ground-control staff staged their third strike in five days, operating more than 80 percent of scheduled flights.

Fraport AG, which runs the hub, canceled 240 takeoffs and landings out of the 1,250 planned, most involving short-haul destinations, spokeswoman Stephanie Wagener said. At least 70 percent of services should operate tomorrow, the company said.

The 200 strikers, who are seeking a revised accord on wages and plans to outsource ground-control jobs, will continue the action until 5 a.m. on Feb. 22, the Frankfurt-based Gewerkschaft der Flugsicherung union said in a statement last night.

A series of walkouts, which began with strikes on Feb. 16 and Feb. 17, will continue until Fraport makes a better offer, GdF board member Markus Siebers said by phone, adding that there has been no contact between the parties since the action began.

“Fraport is willing to negotiate at any time if the GdF is ready to make compromises and if it ends its strike action,” the airport operator said. “The excessive demands and the stubborn attitude from GdF are affecting passengers, airlines and our employees. This must come to an end.”

Emergency Hiring

Deutsche Lufthansa AG, which has its main hub in Frankfurt, scrapped 200 of the 720 arrivals and departures scheduled, all of them inside Europe, spokesman Thomas Jachnow said today.

Europe’s second-biggest airline canceled 250 of 580 medium-haul and domestic operations on Feb. 17. Fraport said 298 of a planned 1,300 flights were halted airport-wide that day.

“Both sides’ stances are rigid and Fraport’s management seems set on breaking the strike by bringing in other workers from elsewhere,” GdF negotiator Dirk Vogelsang said yesterday.

Fraport spokesman Juergen Harrer confirmed that the company is looking at hiring from other airports on a short-term basis, and that ground-control qualified staff have been drafted in from administrative posts to maximize flight capacity.

While Fraport is continuing to explore legal avenues, a court injunction isn’t on the agenda at the moment, he said.

The GdF, which has reached deals with airports in Munich and Berlin, says it has accepted a recommendation from mediator Ole von Beust for a two-step increase in monthly wages of between 200 euros ($263) and 1,600 euros. With Fraport planning to outsource the ground-control function, it also wants workers to be moved to a single company on a single contract.

Frankfurt, which rose 2.6 percent today to close at 46.83 euros, ranks behind London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle in Europe in terms of annual passenger numbers.

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Webb in Frankfurt at awebb25@bloomberg.net; Konstantin Riffler in Frankfurt at kriffler@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Angela Cullen at acullen8@bloomberg.net; Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net

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