Air France warns on pilots’ strike

Air France warns on pilots' strikeAir France is warning passengers planning to fly next week to postpone their travel due to a threatened strike by pilots.

The walkout is proposed by several pilot unions to start on Monday and run for seven days until September 22.

“It is too early to have an exact idea of the outcome of these talks and the consequences of this strike action on our flight schedule,” the airline said.

The French carrier is to adapt its flying schedule and said it was maintaining constant dialogue with unions in an effort to prevent the industrial action from taking place.

But it added: “If you are travelling on a flight operated by Air France, we propose you to anticipate or postpone your departure to avoid the period from 15 to 22 September 2014 if you have the opportunity.”

The chief executive of parent Air France-KLM is threatening to halt the development airline group’s budget carrier Transavia in France and expand elsewhere in Europe if no agreement is reached with the French pilots union ahead of the planned strike.

Alexandre de Juniac told the Financial Times the group will “stop all new projects” at Transavia France – a low-cost carrier unit where employees are paid less than at Air France’s mainline business – if the pilots do not back down.

French pilot unions want members at Transavia France – established in 2007 – to have the same working conditions as those at Air France’s mainline business.

Analysts say a week-long strike could cost the lossmaking group as much as €40 million a day.

“We say no, there is Transavia and Air France, but they are two separate worlds,” says de Juniac said after finalising the group’s new five-year strategy, which focuses on more than doubling the Transavia fleet across Europe.

The group will invest €1 billion in Transavia, growing the fleet from 47 aircraft currently to 100 in 2017 and 115 by 2019.

Expansion will include three new bases outside France and the Holland, with two likely in Portugal and one in Germany, as Transavia focuses on flying holidaymakers to their destinations.

The chief executive wants to increase Transavia France’s fleet from 14 to 35 aircraft, but that is conditional on an agreement with the unions.

“If we cannot find an agreement on Transavia France, we will stay as we are with 14 planes, we will stop all new projects with Transavia France, and we will develop Transavia Europe,” he told the FT.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

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