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French air traffic controllers have been condemned for staging the third strike in a month.
A walkout is planned for at least 35 hours from this evening (Wednesday) resulting in a warning of hundreds of flights being cancelled and extensive delays across Europe.
The latest strike in France immediately follows industrial action by ground staff at key airports in Germany.
The Airlines for Europe lobby group calculated that ATC strikes in Greece, Italy, Belgium and France in March and April caused more than 2,000 flight cancellations among members, including British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.
This will now hit the one million minutes delay mark – more than 16,000 hours – across all airlines operating in European airspace.
Last year, more than 10,000 flights operated by A4E members were affected by 28 days of ATC strikes in Europe causing disruption to millions of passengers.
A4E managing director, Thomas Reynaert, said: “During 2016 ATC strikes in Greece, Italy, Belgium and now again in France accumulated already up to a full week of disruption.
“Repeated and disproportionate industrial action by ATC unions just means victimising passengers and weakening European airlines.
“We will not stop to call on the European Commission and the governments to act immediately to defend consumers.”
He added: “We are progressing in our talks with stakeholders to launch an action plan to minimise strike effects on both local traffic and overflights.
“But now we are also facing substantial industrial action on the ground as well.”
He described today’s strike in Germany as “another nightmare for passengers travelling through Europe and a good example that binding arbitration should be introduced”.
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