Football fans face the threat of travel disruption in the run-in to the European Championships in France due to more strikes by air traffic controllers.
The warning was issued by Ryanair as unions called for industrial action today (Thursday) and three more days of walk-outs over the weekend.
Europe’s largest low cost carrier has today been forced to cancel 75 flights to and from and overflying France.
The airline will update travellers as soon as details of the three further planned strike days this weekend are known.
Rival EasyJet said the strikes until Sunday are expected to have a “large impact” on its flying programme as 65% of its flights use French airspace
The weekend action will be the ninth French ATC strikes in the past 10 weeks.
Further action is planned to not only affect tourists going on summer holidays but will be co-ordinated to directly target the European Championships being held in France between June 10-July 10.
“Football fans from Europe and beyond will be at the mercy of French ATC unions as to whether they’ll be able to attend their teams’ matches or not,” Ryanair warned as it repeated a plea for the European Commission to take action to prevent the skies over Europe being closed by French air traffic control unions.
Ryanair chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “This latest strike action by the French ATC unions is a clear escalation of their attempts to cause as much disruption as possible, and not only will European consumers heading off in huge numbers on their summer holidays be affected, football fans from all over the continent face massive disruption as they get ready for the European Championships, which begin next week.
“It is also important to note that the tourism sectors in Italy and Spain are continuing to be hit hard by these strikes, with thousands of flights to both destinations cancelled in the past few weeks alone, meaning hotel beds lie empty and restaurants remain half-full due to tourists being unable to fly over France to get there.
“There is a less impactful option in Greece and Italy, whereby ATC strikes impact domestic flights only, instead of international over flights.
“We urge every disrupted customers, as well as disgruntled football fans and hospitality workers, to sign up to Ryanair’s petition, www.KeepEuropesSkiesOpen.com, and when we gather one million signatures, we will present this petition to the European Commission to force it to finally take necessary action.”
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