Pilots end strike, airline and union yet to reach agreement

AIR France pilots have called off a strike that has lasted for two weeks and cost the airline hundreds of millions of euros.

Pilots’ union SNPL and the airline have yet to reach an agreement over a dispute about the carrier’s plans to expand its budget subsidiary Transavia. However, a union spokesman said it was ending the strike so negotiations could “continue in a calmer climate”.

The loss-making airline wants to cut costs to compete with budget carriers.

Although the strike is now over, the two parties failed to resolve their differences during weekend talks. Air France said it “deeply regrets that, despite lengthy negotiations since the beginning of the conflict (including 15 hours yesterday)… the balanced and reasonable protocol to end the conflict proposed by management has not been signed by the unions”.

On Friday night, the airline rejected an offer by SNPL to end the strike if an independent mediator was appointed.

The government, which owns a 16 per cent stake in the airline and has pressed hard for an end to the strike, also rejected the offer.

As a result, Air France announced late on Saturday that it would be operating less than half of its scheduled flights on Sunday.

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