Air France passengers face having their travel plans disrupted during a peak summer holiday period as unions representing the airline’s flight attendants announces a four-day strike. The industrial action is slated to start on 29 July and last through to 1 August, a time when many families are either heading out or returning from their summer break.

Union representatives said the walkout was in reaction to Air France’s decision to reorganise cabin crew work schedules at regional hubs. The flag-carrier is doing this in order to reduce the impact of competition from budget carriers.

According to unions including the CFDT and CGT, around 80 per cent of flight attendants say they are currently being overworked and were not prepared to accept an increase in their workload imposed by the airline. In a statement, union representatives said they could not allow their members to become victims of Air France’s drive to increase productivity while reducing operating costs.

In an attempt to increase its presence in the short-haul and mid-haul arena, the carrier has announced that it will begin to operate connecting services from Marseilles as of October this year. By early next year it will also set up regional hubs in Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nice.

According to Air France, the move will allow it to provide passengers with new routes across France and throughout Europe. The airline also claims that by setting up the regional hubs it will be able to cut its operating costs by up to 15 per cent.