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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 April 2006, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Airline chief blasts 'lazy frogs'
Jet2 aircraft
Services have twice been grounded in France in the past week
A furious airline boss has blasted the French as "lazy frogs" after protests disrupted services to the UK.

Philip Meeson, the chairman and chief executive of Yorkshire-based budget carrier Jet2.com, launched his attack in an article on the company website.

The article's headline said: "Jet2.com condemns French strike action and calls for lazy frogs to get back to work!"

The French air traffic controllers' union, CGT, reacted angrily, saying Mr Meeson's language was "not acceptable".

A CGT spokesman said: "It is easy for them to ask some people to go back to work but if people in France do not agree with the government it is a very good reason [to strike]."

In the past week, the airline has twice been hit by protests in France over new employment rules for young workers.

Lazy frog graphic
This graphic appears within the Jet2.com article

Services from France to Leeds-Bradford Airport were disrupted on Monday when French students protesting against the laws staged a runway demonstration at Chambery airport in the Alps.

More than 250 passengers were prevented from travelling and eventually arrived in West Yorkshire several hours late.

Last Tuesday, Jet2 flights were grounded when air traffic controllers joined a general strike in France.

Another low-cost airline, Ryanair, was forced to cancel about 80 flights on Tuesday because of the industrial action.

Mr Meeson, addressing his comments to the air traffic controllers, said: "After a token stoppage why can't you just sort the matter out amicably without bringing thousands of people around the world, who give your country huge economic wealth, into the argument?

It seems to me that either the air traffic controllers or the students run France at the moment
Jet2 boss Philip Meeson

"Whilst France is undeniably a beautiful country... we are appalled and quite frankly tired of the air traffic controllers' old-fashioned attitude to dealing with any issues they may have.

"In short, we urge the French air traffic controllers to get back to work or get another job."

British Euro MPs said the Jet2 boss was damaging Anglo-French relations.

Labour MEP Robert Evans said: "These cheap and derogatory remarks are beneath even a budget airline. We really have got to be more mature in our relationships."

Chris Davies, the leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat MEPs, said: "This is a stupid and crass remark, given that we want the French to visit Britain as much as Brits want to travel to France.

"But there is no doubt that the French are cutting their own throats by striking at every opportunity."

Mr Meeson said: "The 'lazy frogs' comment was meant to be a bit of fun. It was tongue-in-cheek. After all, the French call us 'les rosbifs'.

"It seems to me that either the air traffic controllers or the students run France at the moment."

See the problems caused by the French strike

Protest on runway grounds plane
03 Apr 06 |  West Yorkshire
France in fresh day of protests
04 Apr 06 |  Europe

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