Lufthansa may sue over traffic control problems : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

ABC News

(fair use blah blah posted 12:10 MST 2000/03/07)

"Taking Delays to Court

Lufthansa May Sue Over Traffic Control Problems

By Paul Gallagher

F R A N K F U R T, Germany, March 5  German airline Lufthansa AG on Saturday threatened to take legal action against the German government if it fails to tackle costly delays blamed on the state-owned air traffic control body. Lufthansa confirmed reports in German newspapers on Saturday that it was considering taking the government to court if it did not take action to reduce flight delays.

We can confirm that we are considering taking legal action against the government, a Lufthansa spokesman said following reports that the airline had accused the government of failing to take steps to prevent the prospect of air travel chaos this summer.

European aviation regulators in January pledged to halve air traffic delays across the continent after they hit record levels in 1999. The Association of European Airlines (AEA) said failings in airport and air traffic control were mainly to blame.

A Lufthansa spokesman said that the airline was also urging the German government to push for European Union initiatives to tackle the problem.

Government Denies Problems

The German Transport Ministry said it found the accusations against it incomprehensible. Bad weather and the airlines own problems with capacity caused delays, a spokesman said.

The government would continue pursuing initiatives it had started last year to secure closer cooperation between air traffic control bodies in the EU, the spokesman added.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported in its Saturday edition that Lufthansa lost 300-400 million marks ($150-$200 million) last year because of delays caused by an overstretched air traffic control system. It said that in January, 18 percent of Lufthansa flights had been delayed.

Other Airlines May Join In

The Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung said other airlines could be set to join Lufthansa in resorting to legal action to put the government under pressure over the issue.

Citing Lufthansa executives, the paper said the airline was losing around 500,000 marks daily because of delays at its Frankfurt airport hub alone.

Lufthansa expects a goal of zero delays, it quoted Lufthansa passenger airline chairman Karl-Friedrich Rausch as saying.

The European Commission in Brussels also had a vital part to play in tackling the problem of flight delays in Europe as air traffic controllers faced a steady increase in the number of people travelling by air, Rausch said."

-- firefly (, March 07, 2000

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