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[AMSTERDAM] Cabin crews at Lufthansa budget units Eurowings and Germanwings started a walkout on Thursday in a row over pay and conditions, forcing the carrier to cancel hundreds of short-haul flights in Germany and Europe.
The strike is taking place at Duesseldorf, Cologne, Dortmund, Hanover, Stuttgart, Berlin und Hamburg and is running for 24 hours until midnight. The Lufthansa brand's main hubs of Frankfurt and Munich are not affected.
Lufthansa has seen a series of strikes from cabin crew and pilots over the last few years as it battles to reduce costs in order to be able to compete with low-cost rivals and long-haul carriers with leaner cost bases.
The current strike was called after talks about new contracts collapsed between Eurowings, a regional carrier that Lufthansa is using as a basis to expand its budget offering, and cabin crew union UFO.
Increasing pressure on the group, the union also called a strike for staff at Germanwings, which is being merged into Eurowings. It cited a lack of agreement on part-time contracts, which Eurowings described as absurd.
That means that altogether Eurowings has cancelled almost 400 flights out of around 550 planned for Thursday.
At Duesseldorf airport, queues were forming as passengers sought to rebook tickets. One passenger, Dick van der Aart, said he was irritated. "I got up very early and now I'm standing in a queue. Yes, I'm annoyed," he told Reuters.