Swedish pilots join Air France-KLM strike, but fissures split French and Dutch

SWEDISH pilots flying for SAS extended their walkout in a pay dispute another day, joining cockpit crews at Air France-KLM Group in a strike, thus marring the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

Complicating matters is an internal dispute between Air France and KLM personnel over what French pilots say is a transfer of work to their Dutch counterparts.

The French pilots union, Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne (SNPL), want to «repatriate flights» to Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris «rather than Amsterdam, so as to give work to pilots, stewards and ground staff» of Air France.

But Air France CEO Frederic Gagey said there has been «no massive transfer of capacity» to KLM.

The Air France has disrupted 20 per cent of both international and domestic flights on the French national carrier, including flights to Marseilles, France’s second-largest city.

In a statement, Air France reported that seven per cent of long haul flights, 27 per cent of medium haul flights, and nine per cent of domestic flights were cancelled.

SAS cancelled 230 domestic Swedish and European flights, bringing the total to 649 since Friday, as 400 members of the SPF union continue walkouts in a two-month-old conflict about salary and working hours, the carrier said in a statement.

Flights operated by Danish and Norwegian pilots, partner airlines and long-haul services will operate, the airline said.

Pilots flying for EasyJet Plc also plan to walk out at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport from 6am to 2pm, the Dutch Vlaams Nationaal Verbond (VNV) union said, after negotiations failed to reach an agreement for pilots operating from the hub.

Strikes by Air France pilots, energy workers and garbage collectors dogged the opening weekend of the European soccer championship in France.