Air France pilots call off two-week strike

The walkout, costing the airline $25m a day, started over contracts offered to pilots joining low-cost unit.

    Air France pilots call off two-week strike
    The Air France strike has grounded flights to worldwide destinations for two weeks [AFP]

    Air France pilots have ended a two-week strike that paralysed the country's flagship airline, and was triggered by a dispute over new contracts relating to a new low-cost operation.

    "I can confirm that the SNPL (the airline's main union) has decided to put an end to the strike," Julien Doboz, a spokesman for the sister Air France pilot union SPAF, told Reuters on Sunday.

    The walkout has cost the company no less than $25m a day as around half the flights to worldwide destinations were cancelled.

    No one at SNPL and at Air France was immediately available for comment. 

    Pilots have been trying to pressure Air France to offer the same contracts to those flying on the proposed new Transavia unit as to its own pilots. The airline dismissed the request as unfit for the low-cost model.

    The pilots decided to bring their strike to an end, although an agreement with the French airline was still not reached. However, talks resumed with management on Saturday night.

    French prime minister Manuel Valls on Sunday called on all parties to "reconquer trust" and resume the airline's development, "notably through its subsidiary Transavia France which represents an obvious asset in the high-growth market of low-cost" airline travel.

    Valls put pressure on the pilots on Friday, calling for them to accept the deal put forward by the airline to end the conflict.

    The government is a 16 percent shareholder in the group and sits on the board.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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