Tens of thousands of passengers across Europe face travel chaos today as strikes hit both Air France and Lufthansa.

At least a quarter of the French airline’s flights are expected to be affected after a third of services were grounded on Saturday.

Air France also faces action by staff unions tomorrow (Wednesday) and on April 17-18 and April 24.

The airline plans to operate 65% of long-haul flights, 73% of medium haul flights from Paris Cahrles de Gaulle and 80% of short haul services from Paris Orly and French regional airports.

But Air France warned of last minute delays and cancellations.

Additionally, a series of rolling strikes are planned on SNCF trains in France, comprising two days of strikes every five days until June 28.

Lufthansa has been forced to cancel half of its 1,600 scheduled flights – including 58 long-haul services – impacting a total of 90,000 passengers.

Ground handling, support services and the fire brigade will be on strike at Frankfurt, Munich, Cologne and Bremen airports.

The German carrier’s flight operations are scheduled to resume normal services on Wednesday.

Lufthansa condemned the walk-outs which do not involve its own staff but members of the Verdi trade union as part of a public sector wage dispute.

The airline described the nature and extent of the widespread and full-day strike as “inappropriate and unreasonable” and said: “Lufthansa cannot comprehend Verdi’s threat to carry out such a massive strike.”

Human resources and legal affairs director Bettina Volkens said: “It is completely unacceptable for the union to impose this conflict on uninvolved passengers.

“Lufthansa is not a part of this collective bargaining conflict, but unfortunately our customers and our company are being affected by the consequences of this dispute.”

She added: “Politicians and legislators must define clear rules for strikes and industrial actions.

“We regret that the travel plans of so many customers are being affected by this Verdi strike and we are working on minimising the impact as much as possible”.

An alternative flight schedule has been published with passengers urged to check the status of their flights at Lufthansa.com before leaving for the airport.