Last updated: 12:31 PM ET, Fri July 29 2016

Air France Pilots To Strike During UEFA Quarterfinals

Airlines & Airports | Rich Thomaselli | June 20, 2016

Air France Pilots To Strike During UEFA Quarterfinals

PHOTO: Air France is likely to be short on pilots later this week as the summer travel season begins and the UEFA Championships reach the quarterfinals (Photo courtesy Air France)

If Air France pilots are looking to cause some headaches and garner attention for their cause, they picked a good time to strike.

Agency France Presse is reporting the union will walk out for three days this week, from June 24-27, just as the UEFA soccer championship being held in France hits its stride with the tournament quarterfinals.

In addition to the regular summer tourist season, this could be a big blow to the airline and the various cities around France that are hosting games – depending on how many pilots walk out.

The pilots union went out on strike earlier this month, from June 11-14, just as the UEFA tournament began. But the two sides differed on how severe it was, with the union saying 70 percent of its members participated in the walkout and Air France saying only a limited number of pilots didn’t report to work. The airline added that it only had to cancel 20-30 percent of its flights during that timespan.

Read More: Can Europe Stop Its Frequent Airline Strikes?

This latest threat is much different, however.

June 24 to June 27 begins the quarterfinal round of the tournament, where games take on much more significance. Whereas the first three rounds of the tournament are double-elimination as teams try to "qualify" for a berth among the final 16 countries – ostensibly giving fans three chances to see their respective teams prior to that country advancing – the quarterfinals begin the single-elimination phase of the tournament. Meaning games are far more important.

Italy, Switzerland and host France have already advanced to the quarterfinals.

According to AFP, Air France management said it “deplored” the latest strike threat, condemning the unions for “unreasonable demands” incompatible with the “responsible running of a business”.

Still, despite delaying or canceling 20 percent of its flights, Air France admitted it lost 40 million euros from June 11-14.

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