Flight Delays Continue as French Security Staff Extend Strike

Flights from Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport were delayed today, while Lyon’s Saint-Exupery airport is canceling a third of its departures as security staff extend their strike for a fourth day.

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Security workers are demanding higher wages, causing delays just as France’s schools enter the first week of their year-end holiday. Talks between representatives and workers yesterday resulted in “total failure,” newspaper Les Echos reported, citing labor unions.

Passengers traveling through Terminal 2 at Paris’s Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport should expect security delays averaging 45 minutes, said Aeroports de Paris. The airport operator said no cancellations are expected, adding that, as of 11 a.m. local time, 165 of the day’s 630 flights had taken off.

Meanwhile, Air France canceled four flights from Lyon to Paris, Amsterdam, and Bordeaux, and said on its website it was trying to minimize delays from Paris. Air France uses Terminal 2 at Paris’s CDG airport to fly passengers to Hong Kong, New York, and Santiago.

Lyon’s airport, used by budget airline EasyJet to fly passengers to destinations such as Edinburgh, Prague, and Casablanca, is suffering the most from the walkout of security workers who check passengers and bags. Aeroports de Lyon announced on its site that, to speed things up, luggage requiring special handling such as skis, snowboards, and golf caddies won’t be loaded on planes.

EasyJet spokesman Paul Moore said he hopes the cancellations will soon be over, “as it’s one of the busiest times of the year,” for airlines. “Our focus is on getting people home for Christmas,” he said in a telephone interview.

EasyJet plans to operate a full schedule today, despite delays, though the Luton, England-based airline has canceled flights in recent days because of the strike.

Other French airports, including Toulouse, are less affected, while service at Paris’s Orly airport is normal. The government intends to introduced a measure in January that will force unions to publicize strike plans 48 hours in advance.

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