Air France strike grounds half its flights
Issued on: Modified:
Air France grounded half its flights on Monday as pilots begin a strike against the company's plan to develop its low-cost operation Transavia.
"I can't return home" said a passenger at Charles de Gaulle airport. "I simply have to get to Munich today and I have to find a solution" said another one. "They have changed my connection and I will be one hour delayed but it's fine!", another said.
Several passengers were stranded on Monday morning as the week-long strike kicked-off.
Air France sent 65,000 text messages to passengers affected by the strike and deployed some 7,000 extra-workers.
"We expect to be able to run 48 per cent of our flights" said Air France's director of operations Catherine June.
But unions have called for a week-long strike, the longest at the company since 1998 and warned that 8 out of 10 flights could be cancelled.
Unions fear that Air France -KLM's low-cost operation Transavia could lead to jobs being outsourced , social dumping and pilots being employed on local foreign contracts.
"Negotiations are not over" said Alexandre de Juniac CEO of Air France-KLM. "We will still talk and make proposals to pilots".
Air France put the daily losses from the strike at 10 to 15 million euro.