A 48-hour strike by cabin crew has forced Lufthansa to cancel 1,300 flights.

The walkout started today and will affect around 180,000 passengers, the German airline confirmed.

Lufthansa expects to operate 2,300 out of 3,000 planned flights today and 2,400 out of 3,000 on Friday.

Other airlines in the Lufthansa group are being drafted in with larger aircraft to try to provide alternative flight options. These include Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings, Germanwings, Edelweiss, Air Dolomiti and Swiss.

The action is being taken by the Independent Flight Attendants Organisation (UFO) in Germany in a dispute over pay and conditions and comes as the Lufthansa Group announces its latest financial results, with adjusted earnings down to €1.3 billion for the third quarter of the year against €1.4 billion in the same summer period in 2018.

The airline is to operate a special flight schedule over the two days and said: “Lufthansa regrets the inconvenience for passengers.”

Those affected on domestic routes in Germany are being offered the option of using Deutsche Bahn rail services. Otherwise, free re-booking options are being offered.

“Lufthansa condemns the strike call in the strongest possible terms,” the airline said. “A special flight schedule for Thursday and Friday has been published.”

Lufthansa confirmed its previous financial guidance for the full year with adjusted earnings of between €2 billion to €2.4 billion.

But the group plans to take action to cut costs, with a particular focus on Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines.

Group chief financial officer Ulrik Svensson said: “In an increasingly challenging market environment, it is more vital than ever that we consistently take every action within our influence and further reduce our costs.

“We expect all group companies to make their contribution here. And to these ends, we have resolved several further measures to improve the performance of our only modestly profitable and even loss-making companies.”