Air France Pilots to Strike Throughout the Week

air franceNatalie Paris, The Daily Telegraph, September 15, 2014

Pilots at Air France have begun a one-week strike over plans to cut costs, cancelling more than half of the airline's flights Monday.

Air France flights operated by other airlines, including HOP, KLM and Delta, are not affected by the strike, which sent the group's shares tumbling by more than 3 percent.

Air France said it expected to operate 48 percent of its flights on Monday, but urged passengers travelling until September 22 to modify their journeys.

Flights can be postponed to a date between September 23 to 30 at no extra cost. Those who want to travel after September 30 or who no longer wish to travel to that destination, or at all, are entitled to a non-refundable voucher, the airline's website said .

"If your flight is cancelled or delayed by more than five hours, you can also request the refund of your ticket," the statement continued.

The airline said it can guarantee only 40 per cent of flights will run on Tuesday.

New competition from low-cost rivals and fast-growing long-haul carriers in the Gulf has prompted Europe's legacy carriers to speed up restructuring measures and tweak their business models.

Lufthansa is expanding low-cost services, Italian airline Alitalia is set to undergo restructuring while loss-making Finnair said last month it is taking rapid steps to cut its costs.

But Lufthansa and Air France, which have both issued profit warnings in recent months, are hampered by powerful unions in their efforts to lower costs.

On Tuesday, Lufthansa pilots will hold an eight-hour strike - their fourth in three weeks - in a dispute over an early-retirement scheme.

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This article was written by Natalie Paris and Agencies from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.