ONE in three flights across France today has been cancelled due to the strike by air controllers that is due to last for three days.
Airlines were told by the Direction Générale de l'Aviation Civile (DGAC) to cancel half of the flights using the principal airports so as to ease problems and help passengers and the agency said today that “only passengers with a confirmed flight” should go to the airport.
Companies have been emailing and sending text messages to affected customers but the major airlines also have lists of affected services on their websites.
Low cost giants Ryanair and easyJet said they had been forced to cancel more than 100 flights each.
Ryanair said it had cut 102 flights to and from France today and warned of possible further disruption on other flights through French airspace. EasyJet said it would have to cancel about 128 flights each day of the strike .
The DGAC warning affected the busiest airports and half of all flights to the two Paris airports were cancelled today, along with 40% of flights at Lyon. At Nice, France’s second busiest airport, 31% of flights were cancelled while Marseille saw 30% of services hit.
Ryanair has “called on the EU Commission to prevent thousands of Europe’s citizens having their flights cancelled or delayed by tiny numbers of French Air Traffic Controllers going on strike”.
It condemned “the EU Commission’s continuing failure to act on its repeated call for the removal of the right to strike from Europe’s air traffic controllers, who are again attempting to blackmail Europe’s passengers with strikes”.
The three days of strikes could hit plans by Airbus for the maiden flight of its newest passenger jet, the A350. The jet had been due to take to the air in Toulouse in advance of the Paris Airshow at Le Bourget from June 17-23.
The lightweight carbon-composite aircraft was built to rival Boeing’s Dreamliner and had been set to take part in a fly-by to show off its capabilities.
It is already feared that the air control strike will hit air manufacturers’ plans to get aircraft to Le Bourget, which is just 10km from Paris Charles-de-Gaulle Airport.