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Planes grounded as strike bites

Ryanair axed more than 160 flights yesterday, and has warned passengers to expect more disruption today

AIRLINES have again been asked to axe about 20% of their scheduled flights to and from airports in France as the air traffic controllers’ strike enters its second day.

Like yesterday, the strike will mainly affect flights to and from airports in the south of France, and flights from Paris to Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

According to the French ministry of transport, 75% of scheduled flights should operate this week. A minimum service requirement means that air traffic controllers may have to work to ensure 50% traffic levels.

Le Parisien has reported that Ryanair is planning cut 15% of its schedule today and warned that the situation is likely to get worse. It also advised customers who want to rebook flights to avoid rebooking them today and tomorrow as there is a possibility of further disruption

The low-cost airline cancelled more than 160 flights yesterday, many at the last minute. Other flights were up to six hours behind schedule.

UK-based airline easyJet also cancelled dozens of flights, while British Airways cut some services out of Heathrow.

Air France has modified its programme to ensure that all long-haul flights and 90% of short- and medium-haul services operate.

All airlines have urged passengers to check for updates on their website before travelling to the airport.

Passengers whose flights are still scheduled have been warned to expect delays.

Nearly half the flights out of Roissy yesterday were delayed by at least 50 minutes, while French domestic airline Hop!, which cancelled 110 flights, said that its services still operating were delayed by up to 45 minutes.

The strikers are protesting against planned cuts between 2015 and 2019 that they say will threaten the "necessary performance and modernisation needed to ensure an efficient air navigation service in France".

The cuts form part of the European Commission “Single European Sky” plan, to reduce air navigation costs by organising airspace into nine blocs according to traffic flows, rather than national borders.

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