Los Angeles 10/19/2010 8:20:23 PM
News / Politics

France: Flights Likely To Be Canceled Amid Strikes

Several flights from a number of French airports are likely to be canceled on Tuesday amid nationwide strikes and demonstrations that have severely disrupted transportation and fuel supplies. 

President of French Union of Petroleum Industries, Jean-Louis Shilansky, said that 10 of the country’s 200 fuel terminals have been blocked by demonstrators opposed to the government’s plan to raise the retirement age to 62 from 60. Production has stalled at all 12 French oil refineries, according to unions. 

Around 1000 gas stations in France are out of fuel because demonstrators have blocked roads to oil depots and refineries, said Alexandre de Benoist, a representative of Union of Independent Oil Importers.

The industrial action at refineries has directly affected the two major airports in Paris, Charles de Gaulle and Orly. About 50% of flights from Orly will be canceled on Tuesday due to strikes, and 30% of flights from other Paris airports will be cancelled, according to an announcement by the French aviation authority on Monday.

Both these airports are supplied through a pipeline system that is directly connected to refineries that remained closed on Friday, said Trapil, the organization that owns the pipeline. 

Shilansky, on the other hand, said that airports don’t face imminent risks of fuel shortages. According to him, France has the option of importing jet fuel if required. 

French worker unions started their recent round of demonstrations one week ago in response to the planned pension reforms. The French government, which insists that it can’t afford to pay early pensionshas stood firm on its stance.