Air France cancels flights as strike enters third dayPARIS - Air France was expecting to cancel 15 percent of its flights on Monday as a cabin crew strike entered its third day during a major French holiday week.
At Paris's Charles de Gaulle hub, 44 medium-haul and four long-haul flights had been cancelled as of early Monday, an airport source told AFP, and other flights were facing an average delay of 45 minutes.
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At Paris's other major airport, Orly, 20 Air France flights were cancelled and 92 went ahead as scheduled, an airport source said.
Among those expected to be cancelled on Monday were flights from Charles de Gaulle to Montreal, Los Angeles, Washington and Atlanta, Air France said.
Flights from Charles de Gaulle to Montreal, Abu Dhabi and Atlanta were also expected to be cancelled on Tuesday, the airline said.
Air France management had earlier warned that only 85 percent of its flights were expected to operate on Monday as attendants continued a five-day strike over plans to reduce the number of crew on some flights.
Union officials had warned that Monday could be the worst day yet of the strike.
On Saturday Air France had cancelled 13 percent of its flights and on Sunday 12 percent -- in both cases fewer than it had expected.
Air France has been limiting the number of passengers allowed onto some flights and using other airlines' planes to reduce the strike's impact.
Management said that less than 30 percent of cabin crew were on strike, while unions put the figure at more than 50 percent.
The uncertainty provoked outrage from some who had hoped to travel during France's Toussaint -- All Saints' -- holiday week.
Junior Transport Minister Thierry Mariani on Monday denounced the strike as "irresponsible" and said it was threatening the future of Air France, in which the state holds a 15 percent stake.
"This strike is good news for Air France's competitors," he told RMC Info radio.
He said the strike had been "preventable" and accused the unions of having an "outdated culture".
The strike will translate into "even more losses (for Air France) and most of all a very bad image with clients."
The labour dispute comes after Air France-KLM reported a first quarter net loss of 197 million euros ($283 million) and warned that the outlook was uncertain for the rest of the year.
by Marc Lavine
(c) 2011 AFP
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