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Air France pilots extend strike through Sept. 26, angry over shift to low-cost carrier

Travellers walk past an Air France desk at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, near Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Air France canceled at least half its flights around the world on Monday as pilots began a weeklong strike, highlighting the trouble Europe's flagship airlines face in keeping up with low-cost competitors. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Travellers walk past an Air France desk at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, in Roissy, near Paris, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Air France canceled at least half its flights around the world on Monday as pilots began a weeklong strike, highlighting the trouble Europe's flagship airlines face in keeping up with low-cost competitors. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)  (The Associated Press)

Air France pilots are prolonging a walkout that has grounded more than half the airline's flights all week.

Unions are angry at Air France's plans to shift much of its European operations to a low-cost carrier, Transavia. The SNPL union announced Friday they are extending the strike through Sept. 26.

The company, which is cutting costs to try to stay competitive with budget airlines, apologized to customers.

This is one of the longest strikes at Air France in several years. It reflects larger challenges for Europe's airlines and European economies trying to maintain generous worker protections while allowing companies to adapt to evolving markets.