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KLM Scraps Flights After Strikes

January 15, 1998

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) _ About 2,000 stranded passengers had to be put up in hotels Thursday after two wildcat strikes by baggage handlers forced KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to ground about 40 flights out of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

KLM grounded nine intercontinental and more than 30 European flights Thursday evening, Leijte said. About 6,500 passengers were affected by the groundings.

The baggage handlers returned to work and KLM hoped to resume normal schedules Friday morning. The workers were protesting plans to reorganize the airline’s operations at Schiphol, Leijte said.

``There are some discussions about the jobs these people will have in the future,″ Leijte said. ``We guarantee they will have a job and we guarantee their salary but we do not guarantee what job they will have.″

Leijte said he did not know how many baggage handlers were involved in the strikes at Schiphol, one of Europe’s largest and busiest airports.

Meanwhile, KLM said it will discontinue scheduled flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam because they are not profitable enough.

KLM’s four flights a week to San Juan will be discontinued effective from Friday, the airline said, while daily flights to Ho Chi Minh City will stop late in March.

``We’re constantly looking at our route network,″ Leijte said, ``and routes which don’t meet with our expectations are discontinued.″

KLM is looking at the possibility of a code-sharing alliance with Vietnam Airlines for service to that country.

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