French air traffic strike grounds hundreds of flights

French air traffic strike grounds hundreds of flights

Hundreds of flights have been grounded while others face major delays today due to the start of a strike by French air traffic controllers.

Further action is planned between April 16-18 and April 29-May 2.

Ryanair has cancelled more than 250 flights and easyJet 118 as a result of today's walkout.

A number of British Airways services to and from France are also affected with a warning of “significant delays” to other short-haul services today and tomorrow

Air France has cancelled 40% of medium-haul flights and also warned of "major traffic disruption" and last-minute cancellations on its short-haul operations at Paris Orly and other French airports.

Two thirds of short-haul Orly flights and 40% of flights to and from other French airports operated by its HOP! subsidiary will be canceled.

However, almost all long-haul flights remain unaffected.

France's civil aviation authority said controllers had notified it of plans to strike on both Wednesday and Thursday.

The SANCTA controllers' union said that it was protesting about "imprecise" offers from state employers regarding work conditions and retirement plans.

EasyJet said: “Like all airlines flying to and from France, we expect significant impact to our flights during this period.”

Of easyJet’s 118 cancelled flights today, ten are to and from the UK. Ryanair’s cancellations include flights from a number of UK airports not just to France but to destinations involving the use of French air space such as Alicante, Faro, Barcelona and Lisbon.

"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," Ryanair said.

"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."

British Airways said: “The French Civil Aviation Authority has mandated the cancellation of a number of flights for all airlines using French airspace.

“

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.



“We will continuously review the situation on Wednesday and will look to publish our revised schedule for Thursday during Wednesday afternoon.

"Although the industrial action in France is beyond our control and will affect all airlines, we apologise for any disruption to your travel plans.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Due to planned industrial action by air traffic controllers on Wednesday 8 April and Thursday 9 April, there are likely to be flight cancellations to and from airports in Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nantes.”

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