French stir grounds hundreds of flights

 Air France on Wednesday cancelled up to 40 per cent of its long-distance flights because of a strike by pilots and other personnel over their right to hold unannounced walkouts.

The airline is recommending that passengers postpone any flights planned through Thursday night, when the strike is expected to end. Flights operated with partner airlines in the Skyteam alliance are also affected by the cancellations.

As the strike entered its third day on Wednesday, Air France said it expected to run 60 per cent of long-haul flights and 70 per cent of medium and short-range flights worldwide. The airline normally operates about 1,800 flights a day.

Paris’ Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports saw six flights cancelled at the last minute this morning in addition to those announced to passengers the night before, the official with the Paris airport authority said. She was not authorised to be publicly named because of the agency’s policies.

The striking workers including pilots, cabin and ground crews are protesting a draft law that would require air transport workers to give 48 hours notice before going on strike. The government argues the bill is needed to protect passengers as strikes occur regularly.

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