FRANKFURT, (AFP) – Tens of thousands of passengers experienced flight delays and cancellations on Friday (Feb 17) when staff at eight German airports went on strike in order to seek higher pay.

The Verdi trade union’s full-day strike forced Germany’s largest airline, Lufthansa, to cancel more than 1,300 flights at its two busiest hubs, Frankfurt and Munich.

“The strike is likely to have a significant effect, particularly on domestic aviation travel, with delays, cancellations, and potentially a partial shutdown of air traffic,” Verdi stated in a statement.

The German airport organisation ADV termed the strike action “absolutely unacceptable,” claiming that it would disrupt around 295,000 passengers and over 2,300 flights.

“Solutions must be found at the bargaining table, not at the cost of passengers,” stated ADV CEO Ralph Beisel in a statement.

Bremen, Dortmund, Hamburg, Hannover, Leipzig, and Stuttgart airports are all impacted.

Verdi is now conducting talks for public sector employees, airport ground crew, and aviation security personnel, requesting more compensation at a time when workers’ wages are being eroded by rising living costs.

Verdi backed the strike, claiming that a single day of action was less unpleasant for travellers than many strikes on various days.

The next round of negotiations with businesses is set on February 22 and 23.

Passengers were advised not to go to Frankfurt or Hamburg airports. Those travelling inside Germany were urged to use the train.

All scheduled passenger flights at Munich Airport have been cancelled.

Verdi said that the national strike will not affect aircraft transporting help to earthquake-ravaged Syria and Turkey, or planes carrying leaders attending the annual Munich Security Conference.

The strike concludes a hectic week for German aviation travel.

Due to a massive IT disruption caused by construction work in Frankfurt, Lufthansa was obliged to cancel or postpone flights on Wednesday.

A alleged cyber assault damaged the websites of many German airports the next day.

According to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, a gang of Russian hackers claimed responsibility for the assault.

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