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Airline's labor law challenge fails in France


PARIS— A French court has rejected an emergency request by the British budget airline EasyJet to be immediately exempted from a new law that makes its cabin crews subject to French labor law protection and consequently French taxes.EasyJet had filed two challenges against the Nov. 23 decree with the Paris-based Conseil d'Etat, one asking for immediate exemption and the other seeking the law's abolition.

The judge for the Conseil d'Etat said EasyJet had failed to raise serious doubts about the legality of the decree.

The court did not rule on EasyJet's argument that the law conflicts with established European law and should be abolished. That case will be decided in about two months, the court said.

EasyJet has about 170 pilots, hostesses and stewards who work on its flights into and out of Orly International airport. "They work under British contracts under well-established European law allowing this arrangement," said an EasyJet spokesman.

At issue is whether a room used by crews at Orly constitutes France-based operations. EasyJet contends the room is merely for crews to rest between flights.

"There are no operations or transactions conducted there," the spokesman said.

The company's ticketing, ground crew and other airport operations are handled by subcontractors working under French law, he said.

EasyJet also faces a related investigation for illegal labor by a court in the city of Creteil.

Ryanair Ltd., also affected by the law, has filed its own challenges with the Conseil and the European Commission.