Air France strike affects 30,000 passengers on day two

Passengers check out a board announcing flight cancellations at Marseille-Provence airport on July 27, 2016.
Passengers check out a board announcing flight cancellations at Marseille-Provence airport on July 27, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Some 30,000 passengers were affected on Thursday (July 28) on the second day of a week-long strike by Air France flight crew with the cancellation of one in five flights, a company spokesman said.

The disruption was slightly greater than on Wednesday.

The new chief executive officer of the Air France-KLM group, Jean-Marc Janaillac, said in an interview with the daily Le Figaro that the strike was "regrettable and aggressive", coming at the height of the holiday travel period.

The airline said it would operate more than 80 per cent of its flights on Friday.

Air France flights operated by low-cost airlines HOP! and Transavia, as well as KLM and Delta codeshares, were not affected by the stoppage.

Unions noted that the strike would have its most serious effects at the weekend, when July holiday-makers return home and their August cohorts start their vacations.

Unions representing around half of the strikers last Friday said the stoppage would go ahead as marathon talks failed to reach a breakthrough on renewing a collective labour accord on rules, pay and promotions that expires in October.

Management want to limit the extension of the agreement to 17 months, whereas unions want between three and five years.

Flights to destinations in Europe, north Africa and Israel will be affected, as well as some routes in Asia and Africa, the company said Monday.

In late June, Janaillac warded off a pilots' strike that would have been the second such stoppage during the Euro football tournament.

The pilots' last strike, which grounded around 20 per cent of flights on June 11-14, hit France as it was gripped by social unrest over the Socialist government's labour reforms.

Air France estimated that stoppage cost it some €40 million (S$60 million).