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Travel chaos: Air France pilots take industrial action

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France

More cancellations as French airline strike continues

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-02-08

Air France said it cancelled 40% of its long-haul flights on Wednesday, marking day three of a four-day strike by aviation unions. The airline is expected to run 70 percent its short- and medium-haul journeys.

AP - Air France canceled up to 40 percent of its long-distance flights Wednesday because of a strike by pilots and other personnel over their right to hold unannounced walkouts.

The airline is recommending that passengers postpone any flights planned through Thursday night, when the strike is expected to end.

French aviation strike

Passengers booked on Air France flights between February 6 and 9 may reschedule without charge.

Find out more on Air France's website.

Flights operated with partner airlines in the Skyteam alliance are also affected by the cancellations, an official with the Paris airport authority said.

As the strike entered its third day Wednesday, Air France said it expected to run 60 percent of long-haul flights and 70 percent of medium and short-range flights worldwide. The airline normally operates about 1,800 flights a day.

Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports saw six flights cancelled at the last minute Wednesday morning in addition to those announced to passengers the night before, the official with the Paris airport authority said. She was not authorized to be publicly named because of the agency’s policies.

The airports, normally bustling with global air traffic, were emptier than usual because of the canceled flights. But passengers who weren’t warned ahead of time of cancellations expressed frustration and desperation.

“There’s no solution, now it’s our vacation that’s ruined,” said Norman Sicolt, who traveled to Paris from his hometown of Troyes in central France and hoped to head to Thailand on Wednesday but was stuck at Charles de Gaulle instead.

“We have been at the sales desk of the company, but there are no flights before February 12,” too late to salvage their trip, he said.

The striking workers - including pilots, cabin and ground crews - are protesting a draft law that would require air transport workers to give 48 hours notice before going on strike.

The government argues the bill is needed to protect passengers in a country where strikes occur regularly. A similar law concerning strikes on other public transport was passed a few years ago but doesn’t affect air traffic.

Date created : 2012-02-07

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