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Air France pilots' strike shuts down 40% of flights for 2nd day

The Air France-KLM pilots' strike entered its second day today, with 40 per cent of Air France flights likely to be cancelled.

Lufthansa pilots cancel scheduled strike

An Air France Airbus A330 aircraft takes off at Charles-de-Gaulle airport, near Paris. About 40 per cent of Air France flights are affected by today's strike. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)

The Air France-KLM pilots' strike entered its second day today, with 40 per cent of Air France flights likely to be cancelled.

The pilots are striking over the creation of discount carrier Transavia, where colleagues earn lower wages.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa pilots called off plans to walk off the job at Frankfurt, Germany’s busiest airport.

The German pilots' union said it had received a new offer from the airline for transition payments for those wanting to retire early, a key issue in a series of rotating strikes by Lufthansa pilots.

On Tuesday, Air France made a concession — that Transavia fleet be limited to only 30 planes, down from 37 — that it hoped would cool tensions in its dispute with its pilots.

Pilots fear outsourced jobs

Pilots fear Transavia could mean their jobs would be outsourced and pilots would be employed on local foreign contracts.

Meanwhile, the leader of the French Socialist Party called for an end to the strike.

"This strike is irrelevant when you know about the status of Air France employees," said Jean-Christophe Cambadélis.

"We must keep a sense of proportion, you can't pile up advantages, we can compare salaries but we can also look at what French people are going through today."

An Air France pilot earns about 75,000 euros ($107,000  Cdn) a year on average, with captains of long-haul flights earning up to 250,000 euros (360,000 Cdn).

The unions are threatening to continue the strike, which affected half of flights Monday, until next Monday.

Air France, which is losing 10 million to 15 million euros ($14 million to 20 million Cdn) a day, said it is still negotiating with the pilots union.

European airlines are in a tough competitive flight with discount airlines on short-haul flights within Europe. Air France hoped to recoup some of that business with its discount operation.

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