December 26, 2013 / 6:33 PM / in 6 years

Lufthansa cancels flights as Paris staff call in sick

A Lufthansa Airbus A 320 takes off on runway "Startbahn West" at Frankfurt airport July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) cancelled four flights to and from Paris after most of its workers there called in sick on Thursday morning, a spokesman for the company said.

Some passengers due to fly to Paris from Frankfurt were taken there by bus, the spokesman said, adding flight operations had returned to normal by the afternoon. The other affected flights were from Munich to Paris and back.

The move comes about a month after Germany’s flagship carrier was forced to cancel around 100 flights to and from Paris Charles de Gaulle due to a strike by ground staff over plans to outsource ground operations at the French airport to a third-party provider.

Lufthansa, like other airlines hit by the economic downturn in Europe and increasing competition from low-cost carriers and Gulf airlines, is in the midst of a cost-cutting programme that aims to improve profits by 1.5 billion euros (1.2 billion pounds).

The Unsa union, which represents Lufthansa’s France staff, has said the move would threaten 199 jobs.

Reporting by Hans Seidenstuecker; Writing by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz

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