Strike action by French air traffic controllers this week is causing flight cancellations, with up to 1,000 flights predicted to be cancelled.
Airlines have been asked “to reduce their flight offerings in France by 25 per cent” according to a release by European airlines association Airlines for Europe (A4E).
The disruption is affecting not only services departing French airports, but also those overflying the country.
Control centres at Brest and Bordeaux began industrial yesterday, running until 1900 on Friday, with those in the south of France striking from 0500 today until 0500 on Friday.
Commenting on the disruption Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of A4E said:
“Already during the first weeks of 2017 European travellers become victims of yet another ATC strike – unbelievably, not only for a day but for a whole week.
“A4E urges the Commission to protect the rights of European travellers and work together with Member States, Air Navigation Service Providers, unions and other stakeholders to minimise the impact on passengers.
“We cannot allow a small group of Europe’s 15,000 air traffic controllers restricting the rights of millions of European travellers.
“Following our Call for Action last year we have seen a positive reaction by some unions. It is now the right moment to build on that and minimise the impact of strike actions without questioning the individual right of workers to take industrial action.”
A4E said that between 2010 and 2016 there was one disrupted day every nine days, with a total of 217 ATC strikes, and a cost to the EU economy of $12 billion.
British Airways has published the following advice on its website (last updated March 6):
“Unfortunately in addition to cancelling some flights to and from France, other short-haul flights may also experience some disruption, given how many flights would normally use French airspace.
“We are still assessing which services may be affected on each day of industrial action, but we recognise the uncertainty the situation is causing and have introduced a more flexible rebooking policy.
“Any customer due to fly on a British Airways operated short haul service to or from any French airport as well as Madrid and Barcelona between Monday 6 and Friday 10 March (inclusive), regardless of whether their flight is operating or not can bring their flight forward to Saturday 4 or Sunday 5 March or move it back to a date between Saturday 11 and Friday 17 March (inclusive).”