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Air France Offers 65% of Long-Haul Flights Amid Walkout

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Air France said it expects to provide 65 percent of its long-haul services and 75 percent of domestic and European flights as pilots and other workers stage a fourth day of walkouts to protest a proposed labor-law change.

The strike, which began Feb. 6, will end just before midnight, a spokeswoman for France’s biggest pilot union, SNPL, said today by telephone. Representatives of unions will meet tomorrow with French Transport Minister Thierry Mariani to discuss their position, she said.

Pilots, cabin crew and ground workers are protesting a bill to be considered by the French Senate that would require each employee to give companies 48 hours’ notice before striking. The four-day walkout comes less than three months after Alexandre de Juniac became Air France chief executive, succeeding Pierre-Henri Gourgeon, who left amid financial losses.

The parent company, Air France-KLM Group, will post a loss of “several hundred million euros” for 2011 after fuel costs increased, de Juniac told French legislators Jan. 25. The CEO estimated yesterday that the walkout was costing the Paris-based airline about 10 million euros ($13.3 million) daily.

Air France operated 65 percent of its scheduled long-haul flights yesterday and 75 percent of short- and medium-haul services. Customers scheduled to travel during the walkout dates will be allowed to modify or postpone their journeys.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Rothman in Toulouse, France, at aerothman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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