Flights cancelled as strike set to hit several French airports

Paris-Orly, Brest, Lyon, Poitiers and Lille among those affected by 24-hour air traffic controller protest on Monday

Flights in the north of France will be affected
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Air traffic controllers have given notice of 24-hour strike action on Monday (December 18), with a number of French airports affected and many flights cancelled.

Chief amongst them are Paris Orly – where up to 30% of flights are to be cancelled – and Brest, where half of all scheduled flights are impacted.

Other airports affected are Lyon, Lille, Rouen, Poitiers and Saint-Yan, all in the northern half of France, with workers from the centre en route de la navigation aérienne (CRNA) Nord tower, which manages airspace in the north, on strike.

France’s civil aviation authority (Direction générale de l'Aviation civile, or DGAC) have asked for the flights to be cancelled to minimise disruptions caused by the strike.

“Despite these preventive measures, disruptions and delays are nevertheless to be expected,” it said in a statement.

“Passengers who are able to do so [are recommended] to postpone their journey,” says the DGAC, however, the authorities will "apply minimum service provisions…to limit traffic disruption" in places where regulations allow it.

This notably includes Paris-Orly, Lyon, and Poitiers.

Anyone travelling to or from the airports listed above should contact their flight provider to see if their flight is affected.

Workers angry over changes to strike laws

The strikes are being supported by most air traffic control unions, with one gripe in particular being the change to how future strikes in the sector will work.

Due to legislation passed last month, individual strikers will have to give at least two days’ notice that they will be joining strike action, allowing airports to adapt services before the day of action.

This will reduce disruption for travellers, and give airports, airlines, and the DGAC better information over how many flights will need to be cancelled on the day.

Read more: French MPs move to stop last-minute air traffic controller strikes

Workers at Paris-Orly are also striking against Air France’s decision to stop using the airport as a hub, with only flights from their low-cost arm Transavia using the airport.

Air France will use Charles de Gaulle (Roissy) airport as its key base of operations in Paris.

There are fears that hundreds of people will see their jobs axed by the change, not only at Paris-Orly but also regional airports such as Nice and Marseille-Provence.

Strike action limited over Christmas holidays

No further strike action has been announced by air traffic control unions for flights later in the week.

There have also been assurances from rail unions that SNCF workers that they will not strike during the holiday season.

Air traffic controllers previously assured the government they would not strike in the run-up to, or during, the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, however this was before the recent anti-strike legislation was passed.

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