France is bracing for another wave of strikes that will affect flights, trains and public transport as labor unions continue their protests against the government’s proposed pension reform.
Air France-KLM’s French arm will be forced to cancel one in every 10 short- and medium-haul flights on Tuesday because of the strikes, while the SNCF railway operator warned of potential disruption across its networks and urban transport systems, including in particular Paris.
The Air France cancellations follow a request by France’s DGAC civil aviation authority to reduce flight schedules to and from Paris Orly airport by 20%, according to a spokesman The carrier aims to assure all of its long-haul flights, while not ruling out last-minute delays and cancellations.
Train disruptions will start from late Monday and last into early on Wednesday, affecting some high-speed TGV and Intercity connections. TGV Lyria will cancel several train connections between France and Switzerland. KLM flights shouldn’t be affected on Tuesday as the Dutch carrier operates only to and from Charles de Gaulle airport.
More than one million people took to the streets across France on Jan. 19, led by labor unions opposing President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to eliminate deficits in the pension system by raising the minimum retirement age to 64 from 62. The strikes closed many schools and crippled the rail network. Emboldened by broad public opposition, unions have called for more action and will hold another day of coordinated strikes and protests.
Since the first 24-hour walkout, surveys show growing numbers are ready to defy Macron on pensions, with more than two-thirds opposing the overhaul, according to recent polls. This potentiallly spells trouble for French travelers and tourists and is sparking concerns the movement could drag on just as it did in 2019, paralyzing Paris and other regions for several weeks. At the time, Macron ultimately dropped the contentious reform because of the spreading Covid-19 pandemic.