Air traffic controller strike continues, disruptions mount
Representatives of striking French air traffic controllers failed to reach an agreement following a meeting with French Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo late on Wednesday. The strike has led to massive flight delays and cancellations.
REUTERS - Flights in France were disrupted for a second day on Wednesday by an air traffic controllers' strike but the government said it hoped to find a swift end to the dispute.
Half of all flights were cancelled at Paris-Orly airport and a quarter of all flights at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, a spokesman for the DGAC civil aviation authority said.
National carrier Air France said late on Tuesday it expected to operate 100 percent of its long haul services but only 75 percent of domestic and European flights from Charles de Gaulle and 50 percent from Orly during the strike period. Its shares were up 0.7 percent at 9.96 euros at 1030 GMT.
Unions called a five-day strike starting on Tuesday to protest against a deal on modernising air traffic control signed by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Unions fear the reforms will lead to layoffs.
Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo, who counts transport as part of his portfolio, said the government had proposed that air traffic controllers be involved in the negotiations over the European treaty.
"I hope therefore that in the next few hours, this conflict ... will be solved, I hope between now and the end of the day," he said on RMC radio.
The unions are also protesting against expected budget cuts in 2010 and 2011 as part of a broader government effort to rein in spending.