Air France grounds flights

Paris - Air France has cancelled some of its short and medium-haul flights from airports across France on Saturday due to a strike by ground staff on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The cancellations affect Paris's Orly airport and a number of regional hubs including Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux and Lyon.

Between 15 and 20% of Air France flights from those airports have been cancelled, the company said on Friday, adding that it hoped it would be able to operate all of its long-haul flights.

A spokesperson for the company said that "all passengers [whose flights have been cancelled] have now been informed."

While the airline warned passengers to expect delays, it said that all flights to and from the French capital's main Charles de Gaulle airport would go ahead.

It comes as passengers and families prepare to make the traditional August getaway, with the airports in Paris alone expected to see more than a million travellers over the weekend.

"This strike comes at the worst possible time," said Xavier Broseta, the director in charge of labour relations at the airline.

"This is the busiest Saturday of the year, and the strike comes just as we are starting to see the fruit of efforts made by employees to change the company and ensure it's long-term survival."