French ATC strike grounds hundreds of flights

8 Apr 2015 by GrahamSmith

A two-day strike by air traffic controllers in France has led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights today.

The industrial action is scheduled for today and tomorrow. It has been called by the SNCTA union in a dispute over working conditions, specifically restructuring and plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 59.

Short-haul flights are expected to be hit the worst. Ryanair has cut more than 250 of its Wednesday services so far, with more to come, and Easyjet has cancelled 118 flights, including 10 to and from the UK.

Ryanair said in a statement: "We sincerely apologise to all customers affected by this unwarranted strike action and we call on the EU and French authorities to take measures to prevent any further disruption.

"It's grossly unfair that thousands of European travellers will once again have their travel plans disrupted by the selfish actions of a tiny number of French air traffic control workers."

The worst affected airline is Air France. However, it hopes to operate "almost all" long-haul services and about 60 per cent of medium-haul flights to and from Paris Charles de Gaulle.

British Airways said it would try to use larger aircraft to help minimise the impact of the strike.

A statement said: "Unfortunately, in addition to cancelling some flights to and from France, other short-haul flights are also likely to experience significant delays throughout the two days, given how many flights would normally use French airspace.

"We will be using larger aircraft, where possible, to help affected customers and are doing all we can to reduce any disruption."

Further strikes are planned for between April 16 and 18 and from April 29 until May 2.

Graham Smith

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