* Public-sector strike at Frankfurt, Munich, other airports
* Lufthansa cancels third of services
* Carrier says strike will cost it millions
(Adds updated cancellations, background on pay talks, strike
FRANKFURT, March 26 Lufthansa,
Germany's largest airline, said it had cancelled around 600
flights - about a third of its services - on Thursday due to a
planned strike by public-sector workers across the country's
Trade union Verdi has called on ground staff, baggage
handlers and maintenance staff at almost all of Germany's big
airports, including Europe's third largest hub at Frankfurt, to
strike during the morning shift on Thursday, which runs until
around 1300 GMT.
The union's aim is to increase pressure on the government
ahead of a third round of pay talks due to start at the end of
the month. The walkout is part of wider industrial action that
has also seen strikes by a range of other public-sector workers,
including local transport staff and childcare workers.
Lufthansa, which typically operates around 1,800 flights on
a Thursday under its Lufthansa and Germanwings brands, said it
was cancelling almost all of its domestic flights that were due
to take off before 1300 GMT. Long-haul flights would also be
affected, it said.
The union says it expects around 1,400 people to take part
in the strike action at Frankfurt airport alone.
The strike will affect Cologne-Bonn, Duesseldorf, Hamburg,
Hanover and Stuttgart airports, as well as Munich and Frankfurt.
Other airlines that said passengers could expect delays and
cancellations include holiday specialists TUIFly
and Condor, as well as Air Berlin,
Germany's second largest airline.
Lufthansa said the strike would cost it millions of euros. A
walkout last month by security staff at Frankfurt airport, which
brought chaos to the terminal as people were unable to get
through security checks, cost the carrier 3 million euros in
This time, Lufthansa said it and airport operator Fraport
would try to better manage the expected queues by
dividing the terminal into different coloured zones for
Customers may also rebook tickets free of charge or those on
domestic flights can instead travel on the Deutsche Bahn network
of high-speed trains, the company said.
Trade unions want pay rises of 3.5 percent plus an extra 100
euros ($140) per month for about 2.1 million federal and
municipal public sector workers. That would amount to a total
increase of 6.7 percent, they say.
The government says it is willing to accept a pay increase
but that the demands are too high.
(Reporting by Peter Maushagen and Victoria Bryan; Editing by