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Lufthansa cancels 900 flights as strike starts

Paris, April 2: Advance planning by Lufthansa, one of Europe’s busiest airlines, seemed to be paying off today at the beginning of a three-day strike by pilots, despite the cancellation of about 900 flights worldwide.

But some travellers were nonetheless left scrambling to find alternative flights. And the city of Frankfurt, a major Lufthansa hub, was bracing for possible trouble in the coming days, as thousands of attendees of a big industrial trade show wondered whether they would be able to find ways out of the city tomorrow and Friday.

The airports at Frankfurt and Munich, another Lufthansa hub, were relatively calm, according to airline and airport representatives, after a two-day effort by the airline to notify passengers of flight cancellations that were expected to affect more than 425,000 travellers till Friday.

Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest airline by number of passengers after Ryanair, said that it had sent more than 200,000 text messages and emails to passengers with reservations for flights during the strike period, warning them of the cancellations.

Thousands of customers had also consulted a list of affected flights posted on the airline’s website.

Robert Payne, a spokesman for Frankfurt Airport, said that roughly 700 inbound and outbound flights had been cancelled there today, just over half of the normally scheduled services. He said that cots and other amenities had been prepared for transit passengers who might be stranded, but that, for now, the crowds in the airport’s concourses and check-in halls were relatively thin. He described the atmosphere as “very controlled.

Additional airline staff had been added in the terminals and transit lounges in Frankfurt and Munich to take care of waiting passengers there, the airline said.

 
 
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