Travel disruption due to strikes at Paris’ main airport worsened today, with France’s civil aviation authority ordering more departures grounded.
Officials told airlines to cancel 20 percent of flights between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Charles de Gaulle Airport, down from 17% which was the decrease on Friday during these hours. The unions walked out after failing to reach a wage agreement with the carrier Aeroports de Paris.
Strikes and cancellations have turned Paris into the latest chokepoint for Europe’s gridlocked travel networks this spring and summer. Hubs in cities such as London, Amsterdam and Frankfurt have canceled thousands of flights amid labor shortages and wage disputes.
Airlines have reduced their schedules and raised fares for those who can still secure tickets. Deutsche Lufthansa said on Friday that it will only offer seats in the most expensive booking class for the month of July. This will push the price of even the cheapest return flights between London and Frankfurt to 1,000 euros ($1,037).
In other strike action, Ryanair Holdings workers in Spain were due to strike for a second weekend, while staff at EasyJet Plc’s bases there began the first of a three-day strike on Friday.
“Starting the season like this scares us,” Laurent Abitbol, president of travel agency owner Marietton Developpement, told BFM television.
Air France, the largest carrier at Charles de Gaulle, will cancel 90 flights today, according to a spokesman. The carrier, part of Air France-KLM, plans to maintain all long-haul flights and almost 90% of short- and medium-haul flights.
Two of the hub’s four runways will remain closed due to striking workers, including firefighters. Air France said it would further adjust its schedule depending on information from the airport and the civil aviation authority.
“Last-minute delays and cancellations cannot be ruled out,” Air France said in a statement, noting that labor unrest could last until Sunday.
Talks with union leaders failed to reach an agreement, but Aeroports de Paris is keeping the dialogue open, the hub operator said in a statement.