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.