Lufthansa pilots go on strike, Delhi airport in chaostext_fields
New Delhi: After Germany's Lufthansa airline cancelled 800 flights globally, the Delhi airport ended up in chaos with around 700 stranded passengers. The crisis was caused by a one-day strike observed by pilots.
Lufthansa operates two flights from Delhi to Frankfurt and Munich. Both were cancelled on Friday. The flight to Frankfurt, LH 761 had 300 passengers scheduled to depart at 2.50 am. The flight to Munich, LH 763 had 400 passengers scheduled to depart at 1.10 am. Most of them are students.
Airport police said that a crowd gathered on the main road in front of Departure gate no. 1 Terminal 3 Indira Gandhi International Airport at 12.15 am, reported ANI. Stranded passengers and their relatives were protesting and demanding refunds or alternate arrangements.
Tanu Sharma, DCP, IGI airport, said the protests led to security concerns. "It was found that the crowd mostly comprised relatives of the stranded passengers. When they were informed the flights had been cancelled without any prior intimation, they became agitated."
The airport staff and CISF handled the situation and dispersed the crowd shortly. The airline is trying to make alternate arrangements for the passengers.
The one-day strike is estimated to have affected 1,30,000 passengers. Lufthansa said it is working to normalise the situation but isolated cancellations or delays are possible on Saturday and Sunday as well.
The pilot's union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) told German News Agency DPA that they are demanding a 5.5% pay rise this year and automatic inflation adjustments for 2023. The union has over 5,000 pilots.
According to sources, Lufthansa terminated existing agreements during the pandemic and set up a new airline with lower pay scale conditions. This bypassed a collective deal. Discussions between the airline and VC did not result in solutions.