Published on Monday, March 6, 2017

French ATC strike to cause flight misery

A five-day strike by air traffic controllers at a number of French airports has been confirmed, starting today.

The French Civil Aviation Authority has told airlines to reduce their flight schedules in France by 25%. More than 1,000 flights are expected to be cancelled.

Brest and Bordeaux control centres will be affected from 5am today until 7pm on Friday.

The strike will also impact services flying over France, including flights from the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.

Airlines have called for action from the French Government and European Commission to prevent ATC worker strikes.

Ryanair's Kenny Jacobs said officials 'cannot stand idly by and allow another summer of disruption and travel misery for European consumers to take place'.

Air France has cancelled 17% of its domestic flights from Paris today but said it will operate all of its long-haul flights and over 99% of its short and medium-haul flights from Paris Charles de Gaulle.

But it warned that last-minute delays and cancellations may occur.

British Airways said it would use larger aircraft where possible to alleviate the disruption and it has also relaxed its rebooking policy.

BA is already dealing with strike action by its own crew which is affecting some flights at Heathrow.

Referring to the ATC strike, it told customers: "We are still assessing which services may be affected on each day of industrial action, but we recognise the uncertainty the situation is causing and have introduced a more flexible rebooking policy."

It said any customer due to fly on a BA operated short-haul service to or from any French airport, as well as Madrid and Barcelona, between Monday and Friday (inclusive), regardless of whether their flight is operating or not, can move it back to a date between Saturday 11 and Friday 17 March (inclusive).

EasyJet said it was working to minimise the impact of the strike 'but like other airlines flying to and from France there will be cancellations and potential delays'.

"Although this situation is outside of our control, we do understand that it can be very frustrating situation for all customers travelling," it added.

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