Chaotic scenes at Paris Orly as result of Air Algerie action

by William ASTON on July 14, 2011

Angry scenes were played out at Paris Orly airport yesterday after passengers became stranded by an Air Algerie strike.

Police attempted to calm tempers just after dozens of flights had to be cancelled as result of the industrial action that started on Monday. Unhappy at the way their employer has been treating them, Air Algerie’s cabin crew is demanding a pay increase of at least 106%.

The French government’s Transport Minister, Mr Thierry Mariani, summoned representatives from the airline to start discussions, according to news agency reports. Stranded passengers yelled obscenities at an official as he arrived to talk to them. Among other things, they screamed unflattering titles such as thieves and liars when the official made an attempt at explaining what was being done in order to help them to reach their destinations.

The strike started on Monday, at a known time that is typically used by North Africans and French citizens of Algerian descent for holidays. We’re incredibly exhausted on a moral and physical front, explained one man to French television station EVN outside Orly airport.

Other airports that have been affected by the strike include those located on the outskirts of Marseilles and Nice, which are both located in the south of France and are home to significant Algerian communities. Left with no other choice, passengers had to sleep overnight in the terminals belonging to Marseilles and Nice Airport.

On Tuesday, state radio in Algeria quoted the airline’s chief, Mohamed Salah Boultif, saying that Air Algerie wasn’t in a financial position capable of fulfilling the demands made by the cabin crew.

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