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Relief as air strike called off

Flights to and from airports in France to return to near-normal levels as air traffic controllers vote to return to work

THERE is at last some relief for beleaguered travellers in France as the air traffic controllers strike was last night called off after two days.

Flights to and from the country are expected to return to near-normal levels today. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said yesterday that 95% of flights should operate as scheduled, compared to 75% during the two days the dispute lasted.

Members of the Unsa-ICNA union voted to return to work following talks with the government.

The strike had been due to run until Sunday.

Ryanair said last night that it had been told the strike was cancelled from midnight, adding: “All Ryanair scheduled flights on Thursday will operate as normal.

“All booked customers should proceed to the departure airport as normal.”

EasyJet, too, expected services to return to near normal, but warned on its website that “there may be some knock-on delays due to the Europe-wide disruption in the past couple of days”.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled because of the dispute, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

Ryanair yesterday axed more than 260 flights from its schedules, including services to Carcassonne, Biarritz, La Rochelle and Paris. Meanwhile, easyJet cancelled 150 flights, and British Airways 17.

All three airlines said they would offer a full refund for passengers whose flights had been cancelled.

The strikers were 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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