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Photo: Air France

More travel chaos hits France

Air France is forced to cancel short, medium and long-haul flights, while rail services are also cut.

At least 50,000 passengers booked to fly Air France on Tuesday are seeing their travel plans wrecked by another strike.

Pilots, cabin crew and ground staff are involved in a pay dispute with the airline’s management, demanding a 6% pay rise to compensate for years of wage stagnation.

Air France allowed a 0.6% rise on April 1 and plans another 0.4% from October 1, plus a few additional benefits, but unions describe the management as “obstinate”, pointing to the company’s 42% rise in profits last year to €1.5 billion.

The result today is that 30% of Air France’s long-haul flights are cancelled, including two round trips to New York. Also axed are one in three medium-haul flights and 15% of short-haul flights, including many to and from the UK.

More one-day strikes are set for April 7, 10 and 11. That makes seven days in eight weeks since the first on February 22.

The airline warns also that “in order to ensure the maximum number of flights with our reduced crew, we may have to limit the number of passengers on board some of our flights.”

Rail too
Rail services are also being hit by strikes, with only one in eight long-distance trains running today.

National rail enterprise SNCF is trying to cut costs and boost efficiency by 2020, when its main lines open up to competition in line with European Union policy, and

French rail workers’ generous benefits are on the line. Unions have called two strikes in five days.

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