September 25, 2014 / 11:12 AM / 4 years ago

Air France pilots stay on strike, talks to resume shortly: union

PARIS (Reuters) - The main pilots’ union at Air France (AIRF.PA) said on Thursday its strike was continuing despite confirmation from management that it had withdrawn its controversial plans to expand the airline’s low-cost operations in Europe.

Air France planes are parked on the tarmac at the Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Roissy, near Paris on the second week of a strike by Air France pilots September 22, 2014. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen

As the stoppage costing 20 million euros ($25.4 million) daily entered its 11th day, the SNPL union said in a statement that it had made further demands regarding workers’ terms of employment under the no-frills Transavia brand within France, but that management had refused these.

Talks broke down in the middle of the night and are due to resume at 1500 local time (9 a.m. EDT), SNPL added.

A statement from the company on Thursday said “talks are continuing with the aim of reaching a rapid conclusion”.

Air France-KLM, parent of Air France and Europe’s second biggest network carrier by revenue behind Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), outlined plans to develop Transavia earlier this month in an attempt to head off competition from independent low-cost rivals.

Lufthansa has its own plans to expand in the low-cost sector, and is also facing a potential pilots’ strike.

Air France KLM’s aim was to build the airline from the 14 planes now operating in France to 100 aircraft across Europe, but French pilots were concerned the European arm would suck away jobs and undermine their working conditions.

On top of withdrawal of the European roll out first announced by the government on Wednesday and confirmed by Air France later in the day - the striking pilots have said they also want Air France pay and conditions to be extended to Transavia France pilots.

The state holds a 16 percent stake in Air France-KLM.

The strike has grounded more than half the company’s aircraft since it began.

Reporting by Natalie Huet and Andrew Callus; editing by Susan Thomas

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