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Air France shifts Gulf passengers to avoid strike

Carrier has begun moving air travellers onto alternative flights.
NEWS, Aviation

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Gulf passengers due to fly with Air France this week are facing the possibility of travel disruption as the airline moves to sidestep possible industrial action.

A number of passengers flying from the UAE have been moved over to alternative carriers, despite an apparent agreement with cabin crew to call off a planned four-day strike.

In an email to travellers seen by Arabian Business, Air France said Lisbon-based airline Hi Fly would be operating certain routes. A representative at the carrier’s Dubai office said the move was a precaution against any industrial action during the busy summer period, to avoid the cancellation of any planned flights.

Passengers flying with the French airline in the next few weeks have been advised to check their flight schedules, the representative said.

It is understood passengers who don’t wish to travel with Hi Fly will be given the option to move to a scheduled Air France flight at a later date at no additional cost.

Air France said Saturday that flight attendants had agreed to call off a four-day strike planned for the end of July that had threatened to throw French air travel into chaos at a peak vacation time.

The flight attendants had threatened to walk out in protest against a reorganization of their work at regional hubs that the carrier is setting up to counter competition from low-cost airlines.

A second wave of strike action due to be held from August 5 to 8 by the SNPL, the union representing Air France pilots, was also cancelled after a dispute over pensions was resolved.

Air France-KLM, Europe’s largest airline, last week reported its operating loss widened to €145m ($208m) in the three months through June as fuel costs jumped 16 percent and unrest in the Middle East weighed on earnings.

Global passenger growth slowed to 4.4 percent in June from 6.8 percent in May, the International Air Transport Association said last week.

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