Germany’s Awful Air Travel Week Just Got Worse: IT Outage, Strikes and Now, Cyber Attacks


Things went from bad to worse for air travel in Germany this week. First, an IT outage at Lufthansa Group created chaos 15FEB, and then, a double whammie: crippling labour strikes at airports Friday resulting in the preemptive cancellation of over 1300 flights Thursday, and to top it off: cyber attacks on airports Thursday.

Just two days after a 15FEB Lufthansa Group-wide IT outage virtually grounded the air group, closed FRA to incoming flights and had a massive ripple effect on aviation in Europe and around the world, as Open Jaw reported, flying in Germany came to a virtual standstill again on Friday - but for a completely unrelated reason.

As SimpleFlying reported, public sector, aviation security and ground handling workers scheduled a country-wide, one-day strike for 17FEB.

The labour action is affecting major and many minor German airports, including main hubs like Frankfurt and Munich, as well as regional airports like Bremen, Dortmund, Hamburg, Hanover, and Stuttgart. FRA officials advised pax against air travel altogether Friday.

As a result, Lufthansa cancelled all flights from its Frankfurt and Munich hubs Friday, reports SimpleFlying. LH cancelled flights alone top 1300.

To make matters worse, and adding to the chaos, the aviation publication reported Thursday, 16FEB, four German airport web sites suffered systems failures and "went dark" following suspected, but as-yet unconfirmed, cyber attacks.

The German airports affected were: Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Erfurt Weimar and Nurnberg. The suspected cyber attacks affected only the airports' web sites, not operations. However, layered on top of LH's earlier system outage, and the Friday strike action with pax scrambling for information, the timing couldn't have been worse.

It also comes the same week Scandinavian airline SAS apologized to customers following a cyber attack on that carrier's IT systems on 14FEB, affecting SAS' web site and other IT functions for a matter of hours. The Star Alliance airline admitted some pax personal data "became visible to other passengers who were active during the ongoing attack," Flight Global reports an SAS statement saying.

SAS also noted on 14FEB - two days before the suspected cyber attacks on German airports on 16FEB - that such attacks “often come in batches” and more attacks are “likely."

The latest reports say the four German airport web sites have been restored; however, strike-related cancellations and chaos continues throughout Germany's air travel network.

Lynn Elmhirst


With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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