Air France pilots return to work despite lack of strike deal

Air France pilots return to work despite lack of strike deal

Pilots at troubled flag-carrier Air France have ended a 14 day strike which had grounded half of the airline’s flights, costing millions of euros. 

A late-night negotiating session with management saw leaders of the SNPL pilot union agree to return to work, despite no deal being agreed.

In a later statement the union said it was ending the strike “in the interests of the company and passengers”.

Beginning on September 15th, the strike was the longest in four decades at the carrier.

Pilots had been angered by Air France’s plans to expand low-cost carrier Transavia, with fears new contracts for pilots at the subsidiary could undermine the benefits enjoyed by crew at the parent airline.

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Flights are expected to return to normal gradually, with full service returning on Tuesday.

In what was seen as a retreat last week, management at Air France offered to scrap a central part of the plan to shift most of its European operations to Transavia.

But the pilots remained unsatisfied, saying the contracts sought for the low-cost carrier’s operations in France alone were insufficient.

The 81-year-old company conducts about 1,500 flights each day, and last year had 77 million passengers, making it one of thee biggest carriers in Europe.