Air control strike cancels hundreds of flights

Passengers should check with airline as services cancelled across France

6 March 2017
By Connexion journalist

Air travellers face delays and cancellations todays as French air controllers begin a five-day strike at the Bordeaux and Brest control centres, which is due to spread to Aix-en-Provence/Marseille from tomorrow.

Ryanair has cancelled 44 flights and Easyjet 38 and Air France has said it will only run 83% of its services from Orly and some provincial airports.

Worst affected areas are the flights which cross or serve the south and west of France where the Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile has told Connexion that 300 flights in total have been cancelled, representing 28% of flights in these regions, but 5% of total air traffic in France. 

The Eurocontrol co-ordination centre warns that a high level of delays are expected at Bordeaux and Brest which are also affected by bad weather causing turbulence. Moderate delays are scheduled at Maastricht and Paris.

Airlines were asked to prepare cuts in flight schedules by Eurocontrol – with 25% fewer flights heading south and west from Paris airports from Monday to Friday and 33% of these flights from Tuesday to Thursday.

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Passengers are advised to contact their airline for information before they head off to the airport.

The strike has been called by UNSA, which represents 20% of air traffic controllers, over their working conditions.

Airlines for Europe, a group which represents around 15 airlines including Ryanair, Lufthansa, EasyJet and Air France, warns that the strike will cause more than 1,000 cancellations and serious delays.

They say that air control strikes have cost up to €12billion over the last seven years and that there were 217 such strikes in the EU from 2010-2016 amounting to one disrupted day every nine days. The group is calling for talks to reduce such strike action which they say restricts the rights of millions of European travellers.

Meanwhile, a strike by Air France staff has been called for tomorrow over pay and British Airways cabin crew have been on strike since March 3, which has caused some cancellations. The BA strike is due to end on March 9

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