• France's news in English

Air France strike to continue another week

AFP/The Local · 19 Sep 2014, 18:30

Published: 19 Sep 2014 18:30 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French travellers were facing a weekend of travel disruption, as pilots at Air France announced Friday they were extending their strike until next Friday, their longest since 1998.

The company said it will have to scrap 55 percent of its flights on Saturday, when pilots' unions will also announce whether the strike will continue into a second week.

According to French daily Le Figaro, the pilots voted on Friday to carry on their strike for another week, which means it will last until at least September 26. 

Pilots have downed tools in protest at the airline's plans to develop its low-cost subsidiary Transavia France, whose pilots cost considerably less to employ.

Air France pilots, who can earn as much as €250,000 ($321,000) per year, are worried that management will seek to replace them with cheaper labour from Transavia France.

Management has made concessions to end the strike -- notably limiting the Transavia France fleet -- but unions have rejected all offers so far.

The pilots have also been unmoved by the appeals of senior politicians including Prime Minister Manuel Valls to return to the cockpit.

"It is regrettable that a single category of employee, in this case pilots, can bring air transport in the country to a standstill," Valls said on Wednesday.

He said the strike was "incomprehensible" to most French people and was "weighing heavily on Air France, on its finances but also on the attractiveness and the image of our country."

Air France boss Frederic Gagey has put the daily losses from the strike at €10 to 15 million.

Story continues below…

The chief executive of the wider Air France-KLM group, Alexandre de Juniac, said: "I'm wondering if there is really a desire to negotiate" on the part of the unions.

Unions want to ensure Air France pilots are at the controls of any plane with more than 100 seats, regardless of the operating company -- Transavia included -- a demand management has so far rejected.

As in previous days, airports were largely deserted as Air France notified passengers in advance that their flights were cancelled.

AFP/The Local (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Homeless man does a runner from France's top restaurants
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available