Just 32 of the airline's 1,720 scheduled flights across Germany are expected to take off on Monday as Lufthansa staff walk out over a wage dispute. Worst hit are short haul flights from Germany to the rest of Europe.
Affected airports include Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Hannover, Düsseldorf and Cologne, plus the Lufthansa site in Norderstedt, northern Germany.
Verdi is calling for a 5.2 percent pay increase for 33,000 Lufthansa ground staff, plus employees of the subsidiaries Lufthansa-Systems, Lufthansa Service Group (LSG), Lufthansa Technik and Lufthansa Cargo, as well as those cabin crew members who are Verdi members.
The union announced Monday's strike last week after management failed to come up with up an acceptable pay offer following three rounds of talks.
Ground staff at Stuttgart airport stopped work around 4am on Monday morning, with Lufthansa employees walking out across Germany by 5am. Staff at the airline's subsidiary Lufthansa Technik also abandoned their posts overnight.
Both Lufthansa and services union Verdi are not expecting a rush of passengers to hit the terminals as many had heard the news and would stay away.
“The terminal is almost empty, probably because most passengers are prepared,” said Gerold Schaub from Verdi Frankfurt.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bahn will put on extra staff to deal with a possible onslaught of train passengers after Lufthansa offered rail vouchers to those who had booked flights which had been cancelled because of the strike.
The strike is the second to hit German Lufthansa services in the past month, with some 700 out of a total 1,800 daily flights cancelled during a half day walkout at the end of March.
The next round of wage negotiations is scheduled for April 29th.