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The Independent Online
France is experiencing its most serious summer of discontent since 1968. Air France has cancelled about two flights in three this week because of the pilots' strike. Yet this dispute need not be a disaster. To save cash, the airline had already substantially cut back its flights to the UK over the past few years. Routes such as Heathrow-Nice were abandoned; this one has now returned to the schedules, but is operated by British Midland and is not threatened by the industrial action.

Most flights to France serve Paris, a city to which - thanks to Eurostar trains through the Tunnel - there is massive overcapacity. Even with the thousands travelling this weekend to the French capital, there will still be plenty of room: trains seating a total of 18,000 people make the journey every day.

The British travellers most likely to be affected are those who have bought long-haul, discounted tickets on Air France. With the number of cancellations being made by the official World Cup airline, trips such as Birmingham to Bogota or Manchester to Madagascar could be jeopardised.

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