Travellers warned of flight disruption and cancellations on Friday as French air traffic control strike planned
Passengers flying to and from France, or travelling through the country’s airspace, face hefty delays and possible cancellations on Friday (September 16) due to a French air traffic control strike.
The industrial action is set to take place from 6am on Friday, September 16 until 6am on Saturday, September 17.
Airlines are being told to halve their schedules, which could have a knock-on effect on other European flights as well.
France’s aviation authority the DGAC has warned of “severe” disruption and urged passengers to delay trips.
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“Flight cancellations and significant delays are to be expected,” the DGAC said in a statement.
“Passengers who can are invited to postpone their trips.”
One of the affected airlines, Ryanair, said in a statement on Thursday: “Due to a one-day French ATC strike on Friday (16th Sept), we have regrettably been forced to cancel 420 flights (disrupting 80,000 passengers) mainly overflying France.
“It is inexplicable that thousands of European citizens/visitors will have their travel plans unfairly disrupted (Fri 16th Sept) by yet another French ATC strike and that flights which overfly France are disrupted by French ATC strikes yet domestic French flights are protected by minimum service laws.
“Ryanair is once again calling for immediate EU action to prevent these French ATC strikes disrupting the travel plans of thousands of European citizens/visitors.
“All 80,000 affected Ryanair customers have been notified this morning and advised of their options via email/SMS. Ryanair sincerely apologises to its customers for these unnecessary disruptions that this French ATC strike will cause them.”
In a statement, Easyjet said: "We’ve been advised that there will be an Air Traffic Control strike taking place in France on Friday 16 September. Like all airlines operating to/from French airports easyJet expects some disruptions to its flying program and has been requested by the DGAC – French CAA – to proceed to cancellations.
"If your flight is cancelled, we will notify you by SMS and email, and you will be given the option to change your flight for free, receive a voucher or a refund. All these options will be available through Manage Bookings
"If you are due to travel to or from France on the 16 September please check the status of your flight on Flight Tracker, which is available online or through the easyJet app. Although this is outside of our control, we’d like to apologise for any disruption to your travel plans as a result of this strike action and thank you for your understanding.”
The French Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien (SNCTA) union stated that the strikes were taking place following six months of negotiations over future staff shortages and rising inflation.
In a statement, the SNCTA said: “From 2029 to 2035, more than 1,200 air traffic controllers will retire, which represents a third of the workforce – an unprecedented situation.
“Taking in these factors and the lack of planning from 2023, insufficient recruitment will not be sufficient to maintain an adequate level of public service.”
If no resolution is reached, the SNTCA is planning a second strike from September 28 to Friday 30.