World Bulletin / News Desk
A strike by Lufthansa cabin crew disrupted hundreds of flights on Friday, stranding thousands of passengers who faced further delays over a busy holiday travel weekend from a rolling series of stoppages about pay and cost cuts.
Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport AG said it had asked for no flights to depart to Frankfurt from European destinations, citing a lack of parking positions at Germany's busiest airport due to planes grounded by the strike.
Intercontinental flights were not affected, Fraport said.
Germany's biggest airline said it canceled most of the 360 scheduled arrivals and departures at its Frankfurt hub during Friday's eight-hour strike, which followed the breakdown of 13 months of talks with trade union UFO.
UFO, which represents around two-thirds of Lufthansa's 19,000 flight attendants, did not rule out further stoppages over the weekend and said it could call for industrial action at other airports "today or tomorrow".
"It depends a lot on what Lufthansa's response is," UFO head Nicoley Baublies told Bayerischen Rundfunk radio, warning the airline not to pressure workers to break the strike.
The stoppages were initially focused on flights to and from Frankfurt, but might affect the airline's wider European and global network and could cost it millions of euros a day in lost revenue.
Lufthansa said it would try to place passengers on trains and alternative flights.
"The call to strike action may lead to unscheduled flight delays and cancellations," Lufthansa said in a message to passengers on its website. "Long-haul flights are the uppermost priority and, wherever possible, should not be canceled. Nevertheless, delays must be anticipated."
The coming weekend promises to be busy for travel because it marks the end of the summer holidays in many parts of Germany, and many Germans would be planning to get away since some regions are still in the midst of their summer breaks.
Long lines of passengers waited at Lufthansa service counters in Frankfurt where peanuts and bottles of water or apple juice were offered to disgruntled travelers.
Helga Froesch, munching sausage and bread while holding sparkling wine in a plastic glass in her other hand, said her flight to Malta has been delayed by a day. "We are now eating our breakfast," she said.
Sara Vassallo, traveling with her husband and two children from Cape Town en route to Marseille, said: "We are used to strikes in France, but not here."
Like most global airlines, Lufthansa is battling soaring fuel prices, weak demand from cash-strapped passengers and economic slowdown, as well as fierce competition from low-cost carriers such as Ryanair.
Lufthansa, which operates around 1,850 flights daily, mostly from Frankfurt and Munich, also needs to generate more profit to pay for 17 billion euros ($21.3 billion) of new aircraft on order.
The UFO union, which represents around two-thirds of Lufthansa's 19,000 flight attendants, wants a 5 percent pay rise and guarantees that Lufthansa will not outsource jobs and use more temporary workers, as it has already done in Berlin.
Lufthansa says cabin crew must contribute to the cost-cutting programme.
UFO warned this week the industrial action could continue for a long time and widen into nationwide stoppages if Lufthansa does not meet its demands.
Experts state that the crisis poses risks to the region, which is significant for oil production and exports in the world.
Federal Reserve removes word 'patient;' interest rate increase expected within months. Yellen says timing of rate rise 'not decided,' but will come anytime after April; holds current rates at 0 to 0.25 pct.
Many emerging-market currencies have fallen against the dollar in recent weeks
Anticipated Federal Reserve interest rate hikes making dollar strong against most emerging market currencies, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan says.
European Statistical Agency says slight decline fuelled by drop in production of durable consumer goods.
EU will use all its foreign policy instruments to establish strategic energy partnerships with producing and transit countries.
Dollar strength and waning investor confidence are driving the lira lower
Greece has already received two bailouts totalling 240 billion euros but fellow euro zone member Ireland said last week that it would have to negotiate a third programme.
The Ukraine crisis has tested the loyalties of Bulgaria, a Balkan country with historical ties to Moscow and heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies.
Syria expels three United Nations aid workers hindering aid development in the country
Russia has overcome a "psychological barrier" and is ready to deepen its economic ties with China, Deputy Prime MinisterArkady Dvorkovich said
With Chancellor Angela Merkel's right-left coalition plus the opposition Greens, it was the biggest majority for any euro zone rescue package so far in the 631-seat chamber.
The agreement commits Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi to cooperate with the United States in customs issues, ease red tape at borders, reduce customs wait times and harmonize trade standards.
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has unnerved China with his re-examination of certain projects that Chinahas invested in, including a $1.5 billion "port city" project in Colombo.
EU energy chief Maros Sefcovic invited Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Demchyshyn for talks
Gazprom and Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz have accused each other of not sticking to agreements on gas supplies.