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French airport strike begins to bite with only half of Air France flights confirmed

media French striking workers at a demonstration at the Charles-de-Gaulle airport … Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes

The strike in France by airline pilots, flight attendants and ground staff has entered its second day with significant disruptions to Air France long-haul flights and signs the industrial action is gaining speed.

On Tuesday morning nine Air France long-haul flights were cancelled over a three hour period compared with just four on Monday.

The pattern was repeated elsewhere in France with cancelled flights at Paris’ Orly and Nantes airports. Air France says it can only guaranteed 50 per cent of long-haul and 70 per cent of short-haul flights on Tuesday.

Other airlines are also feeling the effects of the strike. Low cost operator easyJet was forced to cancel several incoming flights to France on Monday.

The industrial action follows government plans to introduce a new bill governing industrial action.

Among other regulations, the draft law approved by France’s lower house last month, requires aviation workers to give 48 hours notice before taking strike action. The powerful SNPL union said on Monday that 50 per cent of its members went on strike, a figure unconfirmed by Air France.

On Monday, Air France replaced striking workers with non-striking workers, a situation which the SNPL says will soon come to an end.

“Mobilisation is going to increase and the pool of non-strikers is going to reduce which means Air France will have to start cancelling flights starting on Tuesday,” said SNPL head Yves Deshayes.

Air France is advising passengers to put back their flights to Friday when the four-day strike will be fininshed.


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