Strikes, Technical Difficulties Cause Havoc at German Airports

The Berlin Brandenburg Airport announced Thursday the cancellation of flights on Friday to and from Frankfurt, Munich and Stuttgart due to planned strikes at other German airports. Planned strikes on Friday have been announced at airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Hanover, Dortmund and Bremen.

The move has the potential to impede industry travel to the Berlin Film Festival, which kicks off Thursday, as Munich and Frankfurt are the country’s main airline hubs, and serve thousands of transit passengers per day. The Berlin airport is advising passengers to check with their airlines.

German news service Deutsche Welle reported that a number of airports, including Düsseldorf, Nüremberg, Erfurt-Weimar and Dortmund, suffered website disruptions due to a suspected hacker attack.

Their websites could not be reached or displayed failure messages, the broadcaster stated. Experts are investigating the disruptions and the possibility of online attacks, it added.

“We are still troubleshooting,” a spokeswoman for Dortmund Airport told Deutsche Welle. She said it was unlikely that the failure was due to a regular overload. “There is reason to suspect it could be a hacker attack.”

Nüremberg Airport said its site had collapsed after receiving too many requests.

German news magazine Spiegel speculated that hackers could have directed heavy internet traffic at targeted servers in an effort to take them offline in a so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

It was not initially clear if the outages would have any effect on air traffic.

The websites of Germany’s largest airports, Frankfurt, Munich and Berlin, were operating normally.

The growing problems follow a major computer system failure at German national carrier Lufthansa on Wednesday that left more than 200 flights canceled and thousands of passengers stranded at Frankfurt Airport, one of Europe’s largest hubs.

Lufthansa attributed the problem to construction work on a rail line in Frankfurt that may have damaged a cable.

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