Pilots working for Air France began what is expected to be a week-long strike Monday to protest some major changes the airline has been making.
As a result of this strike, Air France has already begun canceling flights, with more cancellations expected in the week ahead. A press release by the airline states, “Air France expects to operate 40% of its flights on Tuesday 16 September 2014, given an estimated 60% of pilots planning to strike.”
According to The New York Times, union leaders expect closer to 75 percent of the airline’s French pilots to join the strike.
“Air France regrets this situation and is making every effort to minimize the inconvenience this may cause to its customers. Close to 600,000 texts and messages have been sent to inform customers due to travel on Tuesday individually and in real time,” the airline’s press release went on to say.
Alexandre de Juniac, the chief executive of Air France-KLM, expressed frustration to The New York Times over the stalled negotiations: “Air France should be profitable this year if this strike does not impact its progress.”
He also added that Air France could expect to lose 10 million to 15 million euros, or about $13 million to $19.5 million, for each day the pilots are on strike.
The New York Times reports France’s main pilots’ union, the Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne (SNPL), has concerns over a plan by the airline to double the size of its budget division, Transavia, by 2017 as a way of competing with low-cost airlines like Ryanair and EasyJet.
SNPL said their pilots were not opposed to the new investments going towards Transavia but were opposed to “outsourcing” their pilot jobs to lower-wage countries in Europe.
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