PARIS, September 23 (RIA Novosti) - Air France has canceled 50 percent of its flights to Russia and 30 percent of Russian outbound flights due to the ongoing pilots' strike, a statement on the company's official website said.
According to information given by Air France, only five out of ten scheduled flights will fly to Moscow today, and only one out of two will depart for Saint Petersburg.
Only 38 percent of Air France flights operated on Sunday, and 42 percent on Monday. It is expected that on Tuesday the airline will operate 48 percent of scheduled flights.
Air France has offered its customers the opportunity to change flight dates or to return tickets. However, the airline's website cannot cope with demand, and customer service is unable to handle the volume of incoming calls. For passengers stuck at airports, Air France is providing hotel accommodation and meals, in some cases, even some financial compensation.
It had been expected that the week-long strike over Air France's plans to expand the low-cost operations of its Transavia brand by setting up foreign bases would be over by Sunday, but SNPL, the main French pilots union, voted to continue the strike until September 26.
Currently there are more than 3,700 pilots working for Air France, which exceeds the needs of the company. The company plans to send a large number of the pilots to the Air France affiliated company Hop! and Transavia, a Dutch based low-cost airline operating as an independent part of the Air France-KLM Group. Employees have agreed to the transfer, but claim that their social welfare benefits, salaries and status should remain unchanged. Pilots are also protesting against the reduction of staff.