PARIS – France’s national carrier asked its clients on Wednesday to prepare for some disruption to its services due to planned industrial action backed by nearly all pilot, cabin and ground-crew trade unions which are seeking a six percent pay increase.
Air France said the strike, set for Thursday, would still allow it to operate up to half of its long-haul flights, 75 percent of its medium-haul departures and some 85 percent of its short-haul schedule.
“Air France regrets this situation and is making every effort to minimize the inconvenience this strike action may cause to its customers,” the airline said in a statement.
The airline foresaw the strike would be backed by 28 percent of its workforce although flights operated by aircraft of other airlines, including HOP!, should be unaffected by the industrial action.
Long range flights (over four hours flying time) look set to be the airline’s biggest challenge at its Paris’ Charles de Gaulle hub.
Air France normally operates around 1,200 flights daily and has invited its passengers to check on its website www.airfrance.com for flight updates.
“Before going to the airport, customers are advised to check flight information, 24 hours before departure,” the statement said.
The airline said it had sent close to 60,000 individual updated flight-status text-messages to travelers and recommended customers with a flight reservation on Feb. 22 “to postpone their trip or change their ticket at no extra cost,” adding that customers whose flight is canceled “will receive a full refund.”
Most of the Air France trade unions voted Monday to go ahead with Thursday’s strike after meeting the airline’s management to discuss staff pay increases.
The trade unions justified their pay demands based on Air France-KLM, Franco-Dutch group’s 2017 results, showing the group obtained in 2017 a profit exceeding 1.15 billion euros ($1.42 billion).