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air franceSacrebleu! Looks like travelers to and from France this week will have to forego the notion of a bon voyage, as air traffic controllers nationwide commenced a planned four-day strike this morning (coinciding with a national school holiday), leaving hundreds of planes grounded across the country. The staged walkout has translated to the cancellation of one in four flights at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle, and as many as half of the flights in and out of Paris’s Orly airport – several airports in smaller cities were shut down entirely. The union-led strikes are being staged in response to fears that a planned integration of European air traffic control would lead to job losses and cutbacks in employee benefits. Like-minded fears led to a similar strike in Germany yesterday, with Lufthansa pilots returning to work today after 24 hours on the fritz, in a demonstration of their fears that cheaper labor from budget carriers in the country could replace them (still, a normal flight schedule on Lufthansa routes is not expected to fully resume before Friday). Luckily, the French strikes are not presently targeted towards transatlantic routes and American travelers, with only routes within France and Europe currently affected. (Or perhaps, “unluckily” for American vacationers in the country, who might not have necessarily minded being forced into four extra days of wine, cheese, and cafés in the likes of Paris or the French Riviera!)

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