Air Algerie strike disrupts traffic at Algiers airport

12th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

A strike over pay by Air Algerie cabin crew severely disrupted traffic at Algiers international aiport Tuesday and left hundreds of passengers stranded in French airports.

Algerian state radio quoted the airline's chief, Mohamed Salah Boultif, as saying that the strike, which began on Monday, led to the cancellation of 146 out of 186 scheduled flights.

He said the airline, given its poor financial health, was in no position to grant the 106 percent pay hike sought by the strikers.

Boultif however pledged to agree to a 20 percent pay rise for all airline employees.

In the meantime, more flights scheduled to leave on Wednesday were being cancelled and the backlog of passengers stranded mainly in Algerian and French airports was growing.

Hundreds of disgruntled passengers were queuing up at the airline's counters at Paris's international Orly airport to enquire about the fate of their flights.

Flights between the two countries are usually packed at this time of year and French Transport Minister Thierry Mariani described the strike as "quite deplorable".

Similar scenes were taking place at airports in Marseille and Nice, where stranded passengers were preparing to spend a second night waiting for flights to resume.

"We were told yesterday that we would have three planes this morning," said Kahina Aitkhelifa, a young mother who arrived at Orly with her two-year-old son on Monday.

"So with that hope in mind we spent the night here but there are still no planes. I haven't seen my family in a year, I don't want to stay here," she said.

© 2011 AFP

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