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Paris airport cancels more flights over strike

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PARIS (BLOOMBERG) – Travel disruptions due to strikes at Paris’ main airport worsened on Saturday (July 2), with France’s civil aviation authority ordering more departures to be cut.

Officials told airlines to scrap 20 per cent of flights between 7am and 2pm (1pm and 8pm Singapore time) at Charles de Gaulle airport, up from a 17 per cent reduction on Friday during those hours. Unions walked out after failing to reach a wage deal with operator Aeroports de Paris.

The strikes and cancellations have turned Paris into the latest chokepoint for Europe’s snarled travel networks this spring and summer. Hubs in cities including London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt have scrapped thousands of flights amid labour shortages and disputes over pay. Airlines have reduced their schedules and raised fares for those who can still secure tickets.

German airline Lufthansa said on Friday that it will offer seats only in its most expensive booking class for the month of July. That will raise the price of even the cheapest round-trip flights between London and Frankfurt to EUR1,000 (S$1,456).

In other industrial action, Ryanair workers in Spain were set to walk out for a second weekend, while staff at EasyJet bases there began the first of a series of three-day strikes on Friday.

“Starting the season like this scares us,” Mr Laurent Abitbol, chairman of travel agency owner Marietton Developpement, said on BFM TV.

Air France, the biggest carrier at Charles de Gaulle, will cancel 90 flights on Saturday, according to a spokesman. The carrier, part of Air France-KLM, plans to maintain all long-haul flights and nearly 90 per cent of short- and medium-haul flights.

Two of the hub’s four runways will be shut due to striking workers, including firefighters. Air France said it would further adapt its schedule depending on information from the airport and aviation authority.

“Last-minute delays and cancellations can’t be excluded,” Air France said in a statement, noting that the labour unrest could last through Sunday.

Talks with union leaders didn’t result in an agreement but Aeroports de Paris is keeping the dialogue open, the hub operator said in a statement.

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