Updated: Airlines cancel French flights as Friday strike threatens ‘severe’ disruption


European airlines have started cancelling flights ahead of a French air traffic control strike that could ground half of all flights to and from France on Friday.

France’s aviation authority the DGAC has warned of “severe” disruptionasking airlines to halve their schedules ahead of the walkout and urging passengers to delay trips.

“Flight cancellations and significant delays are to be expected,” the DGAC said in a statement.

“Passengers who can are invited to postpone their trips.”

The industrial action – which will run from 6am Friday 16 September to 6am on Saturday 17 September – could also disrupt European flights that pass over French airspace.

Which airlines have cancelled flights because of the French strike?

Air France has cancelled 55 per cent of its short and medium-haul flights and 10 per cent of its long-haul flights on Friday.

Easyjet, Transavia, Ryanair, Volotea are also bracing for disruption. Together with Air France, they operate around 64 per cent of all flights scheduled to depart in France on Friday.

“Like all airlines operating to/from French airports easyJet expects some disruptions to its flying program and has been requested by the French CAA to proceed to cancellations,” reads an Easyjet statement.

Other airlines have also started slashing their schedules.

Brussels Airlines have cancelled two flights on Thursday evening and ten flights on Friday.

Why are French air traffic controllers striking?

The French Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien (SNCTA) union – the country’s main union for traffic controllers – called the strike over pay and working conditions.

In a statement, the union said inflation was eroding worker pay, calling for wage increases and more recruitment.

“Between 2029 and 2035, one third of the [air traffic control] workforce is retiring. It is imperative that we anticipate and plan recruitment,” the statement says.

“If not, the consequences will be inevitable in terms of the public service, working conditions and flexibility.”

Will my flight be cancelled?

Air France and EasyJet have said they will contact every passenger individually.

“The company regrets this action, which will have significant consequences for customers,” an Air France spokesperson said.

The DGAC has advised passengers on other airlines to reach out to their carrier for more information.

If your flight is cancelled, you are likely entitled to a full refund or a seat on another flight.

If you are flying over France, your flight may not be impacted – the DGAC is collaborating with Eurocontrol to help airlines avoid French airspace.

If an agreement is not reached after Friday, the Union plans a second strike for September 28-30.



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