Air France strike cancels 139 flights in Paris aviation hub

Pasengers queue at the Air France self check-in machines at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris, on July 27, 2016.
Pasengers queue at the Air France self check-in machines at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris, on July 27, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (AFP) - Air France had to scrap 139 long-haul and medium-haul flights on Friday (July 29) at its Charles de Gaulle-Roissy Paris hub on the third day of a strike by flight crew, airport sources said.

The week-long stoppage began on Tuesday, and Friday saw Paris' other main airport Orly cancel 20 per cent of the carrier's flights, with further medium-haul cancellations likely later in the day, the sources said.

Roissy was maintaining more than nine out of ten long-haul and three-quarters of medium-haul flights.

Management said in a statement the carrier would maintain 80 per cent of Saturday flights - the same figure forecast across Friday.

Unions representing around half of the strikers called the stoppage after 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.

The new chief executive of the Air France-KLM group, Mr Jean-Marc Janaillac, told daily Le Figaro on Thursday that the strike was "regrettable and aggressive", coming at the height of the holiday travel period.

Unions retorted that management was being "obstinate" in insisting on a shorter accord timeframe.

Air France flights operated by low-cost airlines HOP! and Transavia, as well as KLM and Delta codeshares, were not affected by a stoppage which affected some 30,000 passengers Thursday.

The pilots' last strike, which grounded around 20 per cent of flights on June 11 to 14 right at the start of Euro 2016, hit France as it was gripped by social unrest over the Socialist government's labour reforms.

Air France estimated that the stoppage cost it some 40 million euros.