Air France grounds one 787 over union pilot training conflict

Air France said it would be forced to ground one of its new Boeing 787 aircraft and reduce its flight frequency from Paris to Guangzhou, China over a disagreement with its main pilot union the SNPL about pilot training.

The news comes as Air France is locked in a wider conflict with its unions over pay: the airline group has launched a company-wide staff consultation on its latest pay proposal in a bid to break the deadlock, but three unions have called for a further four days of strike action on May 3, 4, 7 and 8, which would bring the total number of days of strike action in recent weeks to 15.

From May 2, the carrier will operate 3X-weekly to Guangzhou from its Charles de Gaulle hub, instead of five, using a Boeing 777 on the route to replace the 787, a spokesman said.

That involves canceling nine flights or 40% of its services over the month, but because the 777 has a larger capacity, equates to only a 17% reduction in seat capacity, the spokesman added.

The airline has made the changes to its schedule for a month initially but needs the SNPL to agree to renew an agreement allowing for 777 instructors to train 787 pilots to ensure more flights and aircraft are not affected.


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