Pilot strike threatens to ground flights

Flights across Europe are under threat as Air France pilots plot a strike as part of an ongoing row over the airline’s plans to reorganise services.

The strike is planned to last a week, starting from September 15.

The walk-out is expected to ground most of the airlines domestic and international flights.

The dispute is about Air France offering more competition to budget rivals Ryanair and EasyJet.

The union, SNPL Alpa, claims jobs are at risk and airline executives are not including them in talks about their proposals.

Union president Jean-Louis Barber said: “Our opinion is everything has already been decided regardless of what we have to say about the reorganisation.

“The argument is about which routes are staying and going and who gets to fly the planes.”

Rather than split pilots between budget and prime brands, Air France wants a pool of pilots on call for whatever flights are available.

Ebola crisis steps up

The Ebola crisis in West Africa is continuing unabated despite the World Health organisation stepping up contingency measures to control the deadly virus.

Britain and other Western governments have poured millions of pounds of aid and resources into the stricken countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria, but deaths and new cases are still mounting.

Doctors are reporting some new cases detected in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

One of the key risks is more than 200 aid workers have been infected out of the thousands of casualties.

Rwanda, Gabon, Chad and Cameroon are the latest African countries to exert border controls and flight restrictions on travellers out of the danger zone.

Meanwhile, despite a British aid worker suffering from Ebola being repatriated to the UK for treatment, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office says the risk of an outbreak in Britain is low.

However, a spokesman warned against all but essential travel in the region, unless the visit is in direct response to tackling Ebola.

Around 2,000 people have died from the disease, listed as the worst outbreak of Ebola ever.

Ebola is spread by contact with bodily fluids, like sweat or sneezing.

Symptoms include fever, internal bleeding and problems with the nervous system.

Volcanic eruption closes airspace

Iceland has shut off airspace up to 18,000 feet above the town of Akureyri after a fissure a kilometre long opened after an eruption in the lava fields beneath the Vatnajokull glacier.

Scientists warned of impending seismic activity in the area around the Baroarbunga volcano after detecting more than 2,000 subterranean earthquakes in recent weeks.

The concern is a major eruption could lead to another ash cloud grounding flights across Europe, similar to the fallout from the Eyjafjallajokull eruption in 2010.

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