World

Air France pilots launch weeklong strike as airline economizes to compete with low-cost rivals

  • Travelers look at departure boards at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in Roissy, near Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. At least half of Air France flights around the world were canceled Monday as pilots kicked off a weeklong strike, angry that the airline is shifting jobs and operations to a low-cost carrier to better keep up with competition. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Travelers look at departure boards at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in Roissy, near Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. At least half of Air France flights around the world were canceled Monday as pilots kicked off a weeklong strike, angry that the airline is shifting jobs and operations to a low-cost carrier to better keep up with competition. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)  (The Associated Press)

  • Air France planes are parked on the tarmac at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, near Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Pilots for Air France have kicked off a weeklong strike, angry that the airline is shifting jobs and operations to a low-cost carrier to better keep up with competition. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Air France planes are parked on the tarmac at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, near Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Pilots for Air France have kicked off a weeklong strike, angry that the airline is shifting jobs and operations to a low-cost carrier to better keep up with competition. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)  (The Associated Press)

  • Travelers walk past an Air France desk at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, near Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Pilots for Air France have kicked off a weeklong strike, angry that the airline is shifting jobs and operations to a low-cost carrier to better keep up with competition. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

    Travelers walk past an Air France desk at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, near Paris, Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. Pilots for Air France have kicked off a weeklong strike, angry that the airline is shifting jobs and operations to a low-cost carrier to better keep up with competition. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)  (The Associated Press)

Pilots for Air France have kicked off a weeklong strike, angry that the airline is shifting jobs and operations to a low-cost carrier to better keep up with competition.

Air France is urging passengers around the world to change or postpone travel, estimating that it can only ensure 48 percent of flights Monday.

The company's challenges echo those that faced by flagship airlines across Europe, facing tough rivalry from budget airlines and Gulf state carriers.

Air France announced a plan last week to transfer much of its European operations — and jobs — to low-cost carrier Transavia.

Air France pilots' unions called a weeklong strike starting Monday as they seek better conditions under the plan.