Lufthansa will present cabin crew with a new pay offer on Wednesday that it believes should avert any massively disruptive strike action.
The UFO cabin crew union, which represents 18,000 Lufthansa flight attendants, has been in dispute with the airline for 13 months on pay and conditions.
The union last week said it would delay a decision on whether to strike until Lufthansa had put forward a new offer based solely on pay.
It said on Tuesday it did not hold out much hope that any new offer would provide a basis for further talks and recommended its members start preparing for a strike.
Stefan Lauer, Lufthansa board member responsible for staffing, said he did not believe there would be a long and protracted dispute with unlimited strikes.
"There will be turbulence, but we will look to minimise any negative effects," he told journalists at an event in Frankfurt on Tuesday evening.
Lauer also said Lufthansa would provide more details of a cost-cutting programme in the autumn, saying that the world had changed and that Lufthansa needed to adapt if it were to retain its place in the "Champion's League" of airlines.
"The European debt crisis is increasingly making our customers more nervous and we're seeing that in our growth rates," he said.