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End of travel misery in sight as Air France strike enters final day

© AFP archive

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-08-02

Air France flights returned to near normal levels on Tuesday as the seven-day strike by air stewards drew to a close; however, unions have raised the prospect of further industrial action as early as next week.

For more information on the strike, visit the Air France website by clicking here.

The week-long strike at the struggling airline during the height of the summer holiday season in Europe caused travel misery for tens of thousands of passengers.

Air France officials slammed the timing of the latest strike. "It is extremely disproportionate," said Air France CEO Frédéric Gagey. "A strike at this time… is extremely shocking."

He said on Tuesday the company lost about 90 million euros during the strike, which has affected around 180,000 passengers so far.

Despite this, members of two cabin crew unions – who are calling on management to maintain existing labour agreements on working conditions, pay and promotions – said another stoppage could come as early as next week.

Nearly business as usual

The airline said long-haul flights to and from France would operate as normal on Tuesday. However, 10 percent of domestic flights and around 15 percent of European flights to and from the French capital have been cancelled.

The service is a significant improvement on Monday, when half of all flights to and from Paris were cancelled.

The company said customers would be contacted the day before their flights if there was any change to their flight. The airline also said the booking reference number can also be used to check the status of a flight on the Air France website.

Eric Faliu, a 40-year-old steward who has worked for Air France for 19 years, said the company was in a “race to the bottom”. Faliu also condemned the, “worsening working conditions”.

He explained that crew members were being forced to work more night-flights, with longer shifts and shorter breaks in between. He also complained that wages had been frozen since 2011.

Uncertain climate hits airline

Air France-KLM reported a fall in profits during the second quarter of 2016, citing the deteriorating global situation.

The group reported a five per cent fall in revenue to €6.22 billion for the three months to June 30th compared with the same period last year. However, operating profits rose by 138 percent to €317 million for the period, partly due to lower fuel costs.

The company has also flagged worries about “France as a destination” following a spate of terror attacks across the country.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2016-08-02

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