French air traffic controller strikes: 70% of Orly flights cancelled

Other protest action lasting until May 30 may also affect air travel

The second-busiest airport in Paris will see the majority of its flights affected by the strike action on Saturday
Published Last updated

A last-minute air traffic control strike on Saturday (May 25) will see hundreds of flights to and from Paris cancelled.

France’s Civil Aviation Authority (Direction générale de l'Aviation civile, DGAC) asked airline operators to cancel 70% of flights to or from Paris Orly, the second-busiest airport in the country. 

Action by air traffic controllers will take place from 04:00 to 21:30 at the airport.

The strike is centred around Paris-Orly, with other airports unlikely to be affected (unless via domestic flights to Orly).

Flights over French airspace may also be affected.

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

The main union for air traffic controllers, the SNCTA, accepted last-minute negotiations last month, cancelling two proposed days of strike action by their members. 

However, the second and third largest unions (Unsa-Icna and Usac-CGT) rejected these talks, going ahead with strike action in April. Members from the first union are striking on Saturday. 

“Our managers are continuing to be penny-wise and pound-foolish at Orly, and this will quickly cause the teams to fall back into understaffing,” said a leaflet published by the Unsca-Icna union. 

“Adequate staffing levels are a necessity if we are to guarantee working conditions that are suited to the safety tasks assigned to air traffic control engineers,” it added. 

Members from the Usac-CGT filed a separate – and national – strike notice covering May 23 to May 30, citing a ‘weakening territorial network’ that is part of the proposed reforms to the aviation sector from the DGAC. 

Read more: French air traffic controllers take too much time off and risk safety