Turbulence Ahead: FAA ATC Cuts & Lufthansa Strike
Well this past week has been a bad one for the United States in general, it appears the next one will be pretty awful for the airlines. Many delays and cancellations throughout the entire US can be expected beginning tomorrow, April 21st, due to the Federal Aviation Administration's Air Traffic Control furloughs beginning. Across the pond, German Flag Carrier Lufthansa has already begun canceling flights ahead of a planned labor strike by Verdi, a public services trade union. After a small delay, the FAA announced that it has no choice but to move forward with furloughing several Air Traffic Controllers due to budget constraints. Due to the sequestration, the FAA has to cut almost $650 million out of its budget. The only way for them to do this is by furloughing, or giving a temporary unpaid leave, to many of its ATC staff. The most significant delays are expected at the major hubs in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. However, this will surely cause a ripple effect and cause delays and cancellations all over the United States. These cuts will supposedly affect upwards of 6,000 flights a day, causing a headache for everyone involved, passengers and airlines alike. Individual airlines are already starting to issue advisories to passengers including Southwest and Alaska. Long haul international flights shouldn't be affected too much but definitely keep an eye on flight statuses if traveling. Over in Germany, Lufthansa is being forced to cancel flights due to a planned strike by Verdi. This trade union includes over 30,000 Lufthansa Ground Staff and is calling for increased wages. The union will "walk out" on Monday, causing flight disruptions systemwide. Most flights in or out of Frankfurt, Munich, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Hannover will be affected. The airline has noted that flights within Germany and to European destinations are more likely to be affected. Germanwings, the airlines' Low Cost subsidiary, shouldn't see any disruptions. During a similar strike by the same union last month, over one third of Lufthansa's 1800 daily flights were affected. Lufthansa plans on publishing a list of all flights expected to be affected sometime this weekend and is allowing passengers to cancel or rebook their flights at no extra cost. Update 4/20/2013 3:32 PM EDT: Lufthansa has just posted the list of all affected flights. It doesn't look good. Hundreds of flights are cancelled for April 21st - 23rd, including several long-haul international flights. See the whole list on the Lufthansa Website. The Thirty Thousand Blog is written by Kyle Dunst. Like us on Facebook for follow @30ThousandBlog on Twitter.