Lufthansa’s main hubs in Frankfurt and Munich were the most affected, but flights were also canceled in Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen, Hannover, Stuttgart and Cologne.
The airline advised affected passengers not to go to the airport as most service counters were unstaffed. Airport terminals were unusually empty early in the morning, but people lined up at ticket counters looking for replacements for canceled flights, the DPA reported.
Many of the stranded passengers arrived in Germany from abroad only to find that their connecting flights had been grounded due to the strike.
At Frankfurt Airport, 725 of the 1,160 scheduled flights have been canceled, according to a spokeswoman for airport operator Fraport. Flights operated by other airlines, which Lufthansa ground staff typically support, were also affected, the DPA reported.
Flights operated by Lufthansa group companies such as Swiss International Air Lines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Italian regional carrier Air Dolomiti have also been cancelled. In addition, Croatia Airlines, United Airlines, Air He Canada, and his LOT of aircraft in Poland failed to take off, he dpa reported.
The ver.di service union announced a strike on Monday in an attempt to put pressure on Lufthansa in wage negotiations for some 20,000 employees in the airline’s logistics, technology and cargo divisions.
“Lufthansa did not make a suitable offer in the first two rounds of negotiations,” union spokesperson Dennis Dacke said Wednesday.
“It’s time for employees to voice their opinions before the third round of negotiations,” Dacke said. “This is a ‘warning attack’ and the consequences are visible. We hope Lufthansa will not provoke another attack in the future.”
Lufthansa spokesman Martin Leutke criticized the strike as harmful.
“People who wanted to travel, who had long planned and longed for a holiday, unfortunately postponed their holiday dream and may have even been destroyed by the strike,” Leutke told reporters in Frankfurt. said. “This strike is completely unnecessary. It is also completely exaggerated.”
Shortages and surges in travel demand were already causing chaos and long lines at security checks at airports in Germany and across Europe.
Airport crews on strike demanding higher wages in France and Scandinavian pilots on strike in Sweden, Norway and Denmark deepen turmoil as inflation soars. Travelers face last-minute cancellations, lengthy delays, lost bags and long waits for bags at airports across Europe.
After two years of restrictions due to COVID-19, travel is booming this summer, overwhelming airlines and airports without enough workers after pandemic-era layoffs. Airports such as Heathrow in London and Schiphol in Amsterdam are limiting the number of flights and passengers each day.
The Lufthansa strike will begin at 3:45 am local time on Wednesday and is scheduled to end at 6:00 am on Thursday.
Ver.di is demanding a 9.5 per cent wage increase this year and says earlier this month Lufthansa made an offer that included an 18-month contract but fell well short of what it asked for.