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Paris air traffic strike deal

PARIS, Feb 19 (AFP) – Striking air traffic controllers in Paris were expected to return to work Thursday after France’s civil aviation authority signed a deal with unions to end the walkout, which has forced the cancellation of many flights to and from the French capital.

However, disruptions were still expected to continue at the southern Orly airport, at least Thursday morning, before normal service resumes.

The agreement was signed late Wednesday and is to be presented Thursday morning to the strikers, who will decide “whether or not to return to work,” said one union leader, Jean-Paul Armangau of CGT, who said he was “optimistic” they would accept it.

Sixty percent of flights using Orly have been grounded this week because of the strike by the controllers at the facility, who are protesting changes to the way the airspace over Paris is managed.

A number of flights at the much bigger Charles de Gaulle airport were also scrapped Wednesday as some controllers at another air traffic centre covering the entire Paris region stayed away from their posts for the second day running in a show of solidarity.

However, that protest ended Wednesday evening and air traffic was expected to return to normal at Charles de Gaulle on Thursday.

The Orly controllers had voted to continue their strike to at least the end of next week, with only a brief respite this coming weekend to facilitate the movement of passengers enjoying French winter vacations.

The government was using a law stipulating minimum service must continue during strikes to maintain 40 percent of Orly flights by ordering 12 of the 60 controllers on duty each day to remain at work.


                                                              Subject: France news