Airlines have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights to, from and over France today as the strike by French air traffic controllers entered its second day.
Air traffic controllers from the UNSA union have walked out at Brest, Bordeaux and Aix-en-Provence airports as part of a four-day strike which began on Monday. Today the strike also involved controllers at Nice and Marseille airports.
However, the industrial action, motivated by a dispute over working times and conditions, has affected more than just these airports, having a knock-on effect across the country.
French aviation authorities say around 25 percent of flights to, from, or over the south of France have been affected and that number rises to 33 percent for the west of the country.
This follows the cancellation of around 375 flights yesterday, with airlines including easyJet, Ryanair and Air France all having to cancel services.
A statement from easyJet said it had been forced to cancel 43 flights today, four of which were to or from the UK. “We are also expecting other flights to experience delays,” the spokesperson said. The airline is advising its customers to check the status of their flight via the flight tracker on their website www.easyjet.com.
Ryanair also told The Local it had had to cancel “a number” of flights on Tuesday due to the “unjustified” strike action. Customers have been told to check the status of their flights on the Ryanair website www.ryanair.com.
Both airlines have called on the government and the EU to act to limit the impact caused by frequent strikes by French air traffic controllers. The airlines that are members of the Airlines for Europe (A4E) association estimate that between 2010 and 2016 air traffic control strikes have cost the industry some €12 billion.
Staff at France’s national carrier Air France also went on strike on today in a dispute over executive pay, however this does not appear to have had any extra impact on the existing disruption. Air France has confirmed that all its long-haul services are guaranteed but said it could only operate 74 percent of domestic flights from Paris Orly and the regional airports. 94 percent of Air France flights from Charles de Gaulle are currently running as scheduled.
UPDATE: Disruption continues with over 400 flights cancelled in French airspace on third day of strike.
**As the strike enters its fourth day flights continued to be cancelled in French air space.
The DGAC, France’s civil aviation authority, the DGAC, has recommended that 20 per cent of flights serving southern and western France should be cancelled on Thursday.