Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Frankfurt airport’s owner and its ground-controllers union resumed contract talks as 13 percent of the flights scheduled for today were scrapped amid the after- effects of a strike.
Negotiations, scheduled to start at noon Frankfurt time, will probably last at least until tomorrow, and “we have braced ourselves for something longer,” Dirk Vogelsang, the chief negotiator of the Gewerkschaft der Flugsicherung union, said in a phone interview. Mike Schweitzer, a spokesman for airport operator Fraport AG, declined to comment on the talks.
Airlines canceled 169 flights of the 1,260 planned for today at Frankfurt, Europe’s third-busiest airport after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, as it rebuilt operations after ground controllers suspended their strike yesterday. The GDF began the job action on Feb. 16, included controllers hadn’t worked from early Feb. 20 until late yesterday.
The disruption has caused losses exceeding 10 million euros ($13 million) at Deutsche Lufthansa AG, the dominant airline at Frankfurt, and cost Fraport 6.5 million euros to 7 million euros as of yesterday. Lufthansa, Europe’s second-biggest carrier, is dropping more than 150 flights today, according to its website. The airline expects normal service tomorrow, said Sandra Kraft, a spokeswoman.
The dispute centers on the GdF’s demand that any contracting out of taxiing and parking of aircraft be assigned to a single company and on Fraport’s rejection of a mediator’s proposal that the airport operator said would have phased in pay raises of 26 percent to 53 percent by 2015.
Lufthansa, which has been sending 1,000 text messages a day to inform passengers about the disruption, has estimated its losses from the strike at the “double-digit million level,” meaning more than 10 million euros.
Fraport rose as much as 0.2 percent to 46.10 euros and was trading at 46.09 euros at 2:09 p.m. in Frankfurt. Lufthansa declined 1.3 percent to 10.35 euros.
The airport operator sought to maximize flights during the strike by reassigning people with ground-control qualifications from administrative posts. That helped lift the proportion of scheduled services performed from 68 percent during the Feb. 16 walkout to 85 percent on Feb. 21. The figure would have exceeded 90 percent had the action continued, Fraport said yesterday.
--With assistance from Alex Webb in Frankfurt. Editors: Tom Lavell, Angela Cullen
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