Monday, 22 September 2014 - 10:28
French gov't push for end to Air France strike
Air France has been experiencing a pilot strike for a week now. The French government wants an end to the strikes, and is calling for a compromise, NU.nl reports. On radio station France Info, French State Secretary for Transport, Alain Vidalies, said on Sunday that the time has come for a "positive step" of the personnel who are demonstrating against possible diminished labor conditions now that Air France wants to expand activity of its daughter company Transavia. "Cheaper air travel is not a choice, but a must. That is the reality", the State Secretary said. "I think that the pilots are entirely aware of that." Beyond expansion of Transavia activities, Air France/KLM group also wants to redevelop those activities making losses such as inter-Europe flights from Air France. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls earlier pleaded for an end to the strike, arguing that the action is "not being understood" and is only creating pressure for Air France, and a bad image for France. NU.nl writes that the strikes, which were scheduled to last from the 15th to the 22nd of September, have now been prolonged with four extra days. Even without the extra days, the strike is the longest since 1998 when Air France pilots stopped work for ten days. After the strikes forced Air France to ground 60 percent of all flights going out of Paris, the airline hopes to be able to return 41 percent of flights back to normal scheduling, which is an improvement of 3 percent since Sunday. With passengers compensated with free transfer or cancellation of bookings made during the period of strike, the airline is losing between €15 and €20 million per day.