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Berlin Airport canceled all flights on Wednesday

BErlin Airport said it canceled all passenger flights on Wednesday because of a strike organized by the Verdi union that is cutting off international air traffic in the German capital.

The dispute will prevent 300 take-offs and landings, which, according to the airport operator BER, will affect around 35,000 passengers. The airport’s largest airlines include discount specialist EasyJet Plc and Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

A Lufthansa spokesman said the airline would offer passengers rebooking flights or train alternatives on Thursday.

The Verdi union called the warning strike, citing dissatisfaction with the airport management’s proposals in three rounds of collective bargaining. She is calling for a monthly increase of €500 for ground staff over a 12-month period, as well as higher bonuses for aviation security staff working on weekends and public holidays.

“The workers are massively overworked,” Enrico Rümker, chairman of the Verdi union’s transport group in Berlin, said by phone, adding that no further strikes are planned to coincide with the upcoming winter holidays in the capital next week. “This is the fault of the airlines, which are pursuing strategies to offer the cheapest possible tickets.”

The latest disruption in Berlin follows a turbulent summer of strikes and delays at Germany’s biggest airports, after unions pushed for better wage deals to offset pressure on the cost of living. Inflation rates in Germany have skyrocketed after the Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed up gas and other energy prices.

Berlin-Brandenburg opens in 2020 after eight years of construction delays. According to the operator’s website, more than 19 million passengers will pass through the airport in 2022. For comparison: Frankfurt handled almost 49 million passengers last year.

Air travel has returned from the pandemic, with leisure travel notably increasing. The surge wreaked havoc at airports across Europe last year after operators and ground staff struggled to meet demand.

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