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Lufthansa, Air Berlin cancel flights on German airport strike

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air Berlin Plc and other airlines canceled hundreds of flights in Germany on Wednesday as a strike by public-services workers at airports hobbled operations in Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne.

[BERLIN] Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air Berlin Plc and other airlines canceled hundreds of flights in Germany on Wednesday as a strike by public-services workers at airports hobbled operations in Frankfurt, Munich and Cologne.

Lufthansa eliminated 895 flights, or 60 per cent of the services it had scheduled for Wednesday, Germany's biggest carrier said in a statement. Munich airport, where a new 900 million-euro (S$1.37 billion) terminal opened on Tuesday, was hard hit, with 700 flights canceled including 545 from Lufthansa. In Frankfurt, Lufthansa canceled 350 flights.

Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, dropped at least 43 domestic flights slated for Munich and Cologne and re-routed long-haul flights to Nuremberg, which isn't targeted by the walkout.

EasyJet Plc canceled four flights to and from Munich, while low-cost rival Ryanair Holdings Plc cut two services to Cologne and postponed 18 others. Services in Cologne were cut nearly in half with 103 out of 276 flights canceled.

The Ver.di labor union is organizing walkouts at six airports as part of a wider pay dispute involving German federal and local government employees. The union is demanding 6 per cent pay raises for 2.1 million public-service workers across the country and is scheduled to meet with authorities on the next round of talks on Thursday and Friday.

Other airports affected by the strike include Dusseldorf, Dortmund and Hanover, with stoppages planned by check-in, security and fire-service workers.

Lufthansa said about 87,000 of its customers are impacted by the strikes. The airline's allowing affected passengers to rebook seats free of charge, and people booked on intra-German routes can switch to Deutsche Bahn trains.

BLOOMBERG