As France’s summer travel season begins, flights from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and other French airports have been canceled after the employers went on strikes to protest low salaries and high inflation.
The strikes forced the cancelation of about 10 percent of flights from the airport on Thursday, a spokesman for airport operator ADP has said.
France’s civil aviation authority also said 17 percent of scheduled flights out of Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports were canceled between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. local time on Friday.
Queues built up inside the terminals as some passengers sought to make alternative arrangements and others arrived early fearing disruption.
“We’ve been here since three o’clock this morning and we’re still waiting. This is not going well at all,” Philippine Tournier, who had booked a flight for Cancun, Mexico, told Reuters.
Paris airport workers are demanding a six percent increase in their salaries, while the French authorities have only agreed to a three percent raise, according to French media reports.
Meanwhile, gate agent Nadia Gabruch said there were acute staff shortages in Paris.
“We get phone calls every day, even when we’re on vacation, asking us if we want to work,” said Gabruch, who earns 1,800 euros ($1,882) a month after 20 years in the job.
The inflation rate has increased in recent months and intensified with the start of the Ukraine war in most European countries, which has led to an increase in fuel and food prices.
According to the European Union’s statistics agency, inflation is at its highest level since record keeping for the euro began in 1997.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and the imposition of travel restrictions, the aviation and tourism industry has suffered significantly in many countries, particularly in Europe.
For that reason, the union of airline companies decided to reduce the salaries of its employees in order to overcome the economic problems, which, due to the unprecedented increase in inflation, has caused discontent and strikes among employees at some French airports.