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Air France: Recent pilot strike cost $631M

PARIS - Air France-KLM says a 14-day pilots' strike that grounded about half the airline's flights cost the company $631 million.

The company gave the estimate in a statement Wednesday, and said it hoped to accelerate development of Transavia, a low-cost affiliate that was at the center of the standoff.

The pilots union said it was not against plans for the new business, but objected to the proposed labor conditions. They fear that the company will outsource their jobs to countries with lower taxes and labor costs.

Air France is hoping Transavia will tap into new markets in France and elsewhere in Europe, allowing it to compete with the low-cost carriers that have cut into the once-dominant market share held by giant European airlines.

The two-week strike also affected Air France long-haul flights to and from the U.S., with many connections canceled.

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