Hundreds of flights were cancelled at airports across Germany on Tuesday as security staff walked out in a dispute over wages.
The one-day strike called by labour union Verdi affected eight airports, including the country’s largest in Frankfurt which asked passengers not to come to the airport.
It marks the latest escalation in a row about higher pay for roughly 25,000 airport security personnel, and comes after warning strikes already caused travel disruptions last week.
Berlin-Brandenburg and Duesseldorf airport each canceled around 140 flights, while Hamburg said it had scrapped all 88 planned departures for the day.
Frankfurt airport had axed 118 flights, operator Fraport said.
The airports of Cologne/Bonn, Bremen, Hanover and Stuttgart were also affected.
The Verdi union is asking for at least one euro more per hour (US$1.10) for staff, and wants to standardise salaries nationwide in what would amount to a pay hike of up to 40 percent for workers in some regions.
The BDLS, the German association of aviation safety companies that is negotiating with Verdi, has accused the union of not being “constructive” in the talks.
The industrial action was criticised by the German Aviation Association (BDL), which said it dealt a further blow to an industry still struggling to recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The strike “affects mainly air travel and many thousands of passengers”, said BDL executive director Matthias von Randow, calling the stoppage “unfair” and “disproportionate”.
The next round of talks is scheduled for Thursday.