Interview with Ibrahim Gülcan, strike at Dusseldorf and Cologne/Bonn airports
Interview with Ibrahim Gülcan, head of airberlin’s crisis team, on the German police security service providers’ strike at Dusseldorf and Cologne/Bonn airports
Mr Gülcan, was airberlin able to prepare for the strike?
We have followed the development of the pay dispute closely but the trade union wanted to hit flight operations hard without prior warning. Because of the lack of clear information,
the response time we had available was very short. However, so that we could prepare ourselves as well as possible, we had already developed priority lists for the schedule in the days leading up to the event. For instance, key routes always have the highest priority, especially when only one or two flights to that destination are operated per week.
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Which measures have you taken?
As early as Wednesday evening, we took the precaution of engaging the airberlin crisis team. At 4:30 am the following morning, colleagues from various company
departments – such as Ground Services, Service Center, Cabin, Cockpit and Traffic Control Centre – arrived at the crisis room. Over a number of shifts, we have now been taking steps for the past 32 hours to minimise the effects of the strike on passengers. We are in constant contact with the airports and our colleagues on site with a view to keeping to the schedule as well as possible.
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How is airberlin looking after its guests?
First of all, we are trying to operate as many flights as possible. Guests can inform themselves at any time about the current status of their flight at airberlin.com. On
24th January, we unfortunately had to cancel a total of 56 flights because of the strike;
we were able to carry out a total of 102 departures and arrivals at Dusseldorf
and Cologne/Bonn airports. On 25th January, we have already had to cancel 49 flights by
12 noon. We offer all flight guests whose flight has been cancelled because of the strike
the opportunity to cancel their flight free of charge or rebook flights within the period from 26th January 2013 up to 24th April 2013 inclusive. We have opened a free telephone number for this purpose: 00800 – 573 78 000. In addition, we are offering rail vouchers for flights within Germany. At Dusseldorf airport, there is a support team that has been additionally set up to inform airberlin guests about the current status of their flights and is working to ensure that guests on flights that are going ahead get through the security checks on time.