Two trade unions representing Air France air hosts and hostesses delivered a notice last week to launch a strike from July 27 to August 2 – one of the busiest weeks of the year – after talks failed to bring a compromise on labour accord rules, pay and promotions.
The UNSA-PNC and SNPNC, the leading unions representing Air France flight staff, are protesting contract changes that comes into force on November 1, 2016.
In a statement released Friday, Air France said it would operate more than 90 percent of its long-haul flights Friday, as well as 85 percent of domestic flights and 75 percent medium-haul flights in and out of Paris. Management also said the carrier would maintain 80 percent of Saturday flights.
Air France flights operated by low-cost airlines HOP! and Transavia, as well as KLM and Delta codeshares, were not affected by the stoppage.
The company advised customers that they would be contacted the day before their flights if there was any change to their itinerary, using the telephone numbers and email addresses provided when the booking was made.
The booking reference number can also be used to check the status of a flight on the Air France website. Passengers are advised not to go to the airport if their flight has been cancelled, adding “staff will do their utmost to offer you an alternative solution”.
Air France officials have slammed the terms and timing of the latest strike. "It is extremely disproportionate," said Air France CEO Frédéric Gagey. "A strike at this time… is extremely shocking."
The pilots' last strike, which grounded around 20 percent of flights on June 11-14 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 ($45 million).