Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital Business
Capital Business


Air France strike sparks travel chaos

Air France/FILE

Air France strike sparks travel chaos/FILE

PARIS, September 15- French flag carrier Air France was set to scrap at least half its flights Monday as pilots began a strike against the company’s plan to develop its low-cost subsidiary.

Several passengers were stranded as the week long strike kicked off, sparking outrage among weary travellers such as Jean Marc Ragot, who arrived from Nairobi to Paris to find his connecting flight to the eastern French city of Lyon cancelled.

“I can’t return home, thanks for the joy,” he complained at Charles de Gaulle airport.

“I’ve had it up to here with strikes in France. One always has a problem when one returns home,” he said.

Air France said it had sent 65,000 text messages to passengers affected by the strike and deployed some 7,000 extra workers to help stranded customers.

Munich bound Carlos Gomez received such a message but turned up at Paris’s main airport despite all flights to the German city being scrapped.

“I simply have to get to Munich today and I have to find a solution,” he said.

“We expect to be able to run 48 percent of our flights” with roughly 60 percent of pilots downing tools, Air France’s director of operations Catherine Jude said on Sunday.

But a pilots’ union warned that eight out of 10 flights could be cancelled as the strike continued later into the week.

The main pilots’ union at Air France (SNPL) has called for a week-long strike, which would be the longest at the company since 1998.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The company urged “customers who have booked a flight between September 15 and 22 to delay their trip, change their ticket free of charge or claim a refund.”

Labour unions fear that expanding Air France’s low-cost operation Transavia will lead to “jobs being outsourced” and “social dumping” with pilots being employed on local contracts.

“This is about a point of principle. We’re not even talking about a rise in wages,” said Jean Louis Barber, the head of the SNPL union.

Air France boss Frederic Gagey put the daily losses from the strike at “10 to 15 million” euros ($13-$19 million) and said management was “doing everything with the social partners to try and find a way out of this situation.”

Barber warned the transport situation would be even worse on Tuesday and Wednesday as the pilots who did decide to work on Monday would have to take their legally stipulated rest.

The company said: “If the strike continues beyond September 15, the flight schedule will be modified as a result. The knock on effects will be communicated to passengers the day before they are due to leave.”

Seeking to take advantage of its rival’s woes, low-cost airline easyJet on Saturday laid on 1,000 extra seats on flights from Paris to the southern cities of Toulouse and Nice

Click to comment

More on Capital Business

Executive Lifestyle

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The country’s super wealthy individuals are increasing their holding of bonds, gold and cash, a new report by Knight...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi has urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution when making any...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi is set to own half of Centum Investment Company PLC, following a go-ahead...

Ask Kirubi

It is without a doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the whole world by surprise. Although its full impact is yet to be...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Commercial Banks have been ordered to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans, with loans eligible from March...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun17 – Kenya’s tea leaves manufacturer Kericho Gold, has been awarded the Superbrands Seal by Superbrands East Africa for their quality variety...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – As the local telecommunications industry gears up to roll out 5G networks in the country, the Communications Authority of...


NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Airtel Kenya is offering free internet access for students in order to enable continued learning at home in the...