Air France strike enters 2nd week
PARIS - A strike by Air France pilots that has forced the airline to scrap more than half its flights stretched into its second week on Monday, with no sign of a breakthrough.
As in previous days, France's flag carrier operated only around 40 percent of its flights on Monday, with nearly seven in 10 pilots walking off the job.
"This strike is becoming interminable," said Jean-Claude Delarue, president of a travellers' federation.
"You have to ask yourself whether Air France will end up losing market share because travellers will end up going elsewhere," said Delarue.
Air France management said it is losing between 10-15 million euros ($19 million) per day due to the strike and has warned it will cast doubt on its ability to turn a profit this year.
Pilots are on strike in protest at Air France's plans to develop its low cost subsidiary Transavia France.
They fear that the airline will attempt to replace expensive Air France pilots, who can earn up to 250,000 euros in annual salary, with Transavia pilots, who are paid considerably less.
The government has called several times for an end to the strike, with Prime Minister Manuel Valls warning that the image of the eurozone's second largest economy was at risk.
Transport Minister Alain Vidalies warned over the weekend that "the fate of the company could be at stake."
The main pilots' union, SNPL, has called for the strike to be continued until Friday and threatened a further extension if its demands are not met.
Air France has sought to end the strike by making some concessions, such as limiting the Transavia France fleet -- all in vain so far.
Over the weekend, management sent an email to its pilots to try and put an end to what it said were attempts of "intimidation" against pilots that were continuing to work.
"Air France management will not tolerate any misdemeanour and will initiate steps necessary to punish those who engage in such acts," read the email, obtained by AFP.