How German strikes and Vienna protests are affecting travel in Austria

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
How German strikes and Vienna protests are affecting travel in Austria
A flights display shows cancelled flights in a empty terminal of the Franz Josef-Strauss airport in Munich, southern Germany, during a warning strike on March 26, 2023. (Photo by Christof STACHE / AFP)

An unprecedented nationwide transport strike in Germany as well as climate protests in Vienna are impacting Austrian travellers and commuters. Here's what's happening.


Germany's strike in the transport sector on Monday has affected the country's rail services, public transport, many airports, waterways, ports and highways - and has disrupted travel to and from Austria.

Long-distance services are at a complete standstill, and DB Regio, which is responsible for regional services, has also suspended most trains. The strike is also affecting air traffic and local public transport in some German states, extending beyond Germany into Austria.

READ ALSO: How Austria will be affected by Germany’s ‘mega’ transport strike on Monday


Those who cannot postpone their journey - such as switching to the rail replacement service set up via the Deutsche Eck (a road and rail connection between eastern Austria and the west of the country via German territory) - need to be patient as all train connections are affected. A shuttle service has been set up every two hours, but journeys may take up to three hours longer, transport bosses said.

Austrian rail company ÖBB recommended travellers postpone travel from, to and via Germany. Individual night train services were affected during the night to Sunday, and some of the restrictions on night train services will also last longer, Austrian public broadcaster ORF reported.

On Monday, 54 of 91 scheduled flights between Vienna and Munich and Frankfurt, Nuremberg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Hamburg and Cologne were cancelled, as well as flights between Salzburg and Frankfurt and Cologne, and all three flights between Innsbruck and Frankfurt and two round-trip flights each between Linz and Frankfurt.

At least 66 flights were affected at the airport in Schwechat, while Graz airport cancelled 16 flights.

Berlin's BER airport, however, will not be affected. In Munich, though, strike effects started on Sunday, with 12 flights between Munich and Vienna cancelled, according to the Vienna Airport. Disruptions to the Bavarian airport are also particularly damaging to Austrian travellers from the west of the country, as many who live in Tyrol and Salzburg use Munich as an international hub.

READ ALSO: What you need to know before travelling to Austria in spring 2023

All travellers have been advised to check with their airline or tour operator regarding their flight. However, as passengers had already been informed in advance by the airlines for the most part, no particular impact on terminal operations was expected at Vienna Airport for either day, an airport spokesman explained.

Tuesday will also be complicated

Though the strike is set to end on Monday late evening, its repercussions will be felt on Tuesday.

In the long-distance traffic of German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, for example, it will take until the ICE and IC trains are back where they are needed to be to resume normal operations.

Therefore, train cancellations are still to be expected, especially at the beginning of the day, according to Deutsche Bahn. Also, at the airports, effects are still possible on Tuesday.


Why are there strikes?

The German trade union Verdi and the Railway and Transport Workers Union (EVG) have called the strikes to pressure companies over wage negotiations to cushion rising inflation.

The EVG is negotiating for around 230,000 employees at 50 rail and bus companies, for whom it wants 12 percent more pay, or at least €650 a month more. Verdi is negotiating for the approximately 2.5 million public sector employees at the federal and local levels, including those working in local transport and airports. The union demands a 10.5 percent increase, or at least €500 monthly.

The third round of negotiations is scheduled for Monday to Wednesday in Potsdam. Both sides are currently still far apart, but an agreement in the following days is not being ruled out.

Local disruption in Vienna

Things are also agitated in Austria's capital Vienna, where climate activists have blocked several roads and lanes in the city centre.

The protests against the European Gas Conference starting Monday in Vienna began over the weekend and continue taking place. After actions on Saturday on the Salztor Bridge and at Schwechat Airport on Sunday, there were demonstrations and sit-in blockades on the Parkring early on Monday.

READ ALSO: Reader tips: How to reduce your climate impact as an international resident

The protesters chanted "No more gas, no more oil" and "We are unstoppable" in front of the Marriott Hotel, where the gas conference is held in Vienna's 1st district. The first arrests and detentions occurred shortly after 8 am. Around that time, police announced the dissolution of the sit-in, but a second sit-in was formed at Johannesgasse.

Traffic was diverted, as well as the tram 2 in both directions between Schwedenplatz and Ring, Volkstheater via line 1. In several areas around the city centre, there were traffic jams. The activists speak of 50 participants, and the police are on duty with hundreds of officers, broadcaster ORF reported.

The conference takes place from March 27th to March 29th, and activists plan further protests throughout the event.


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