French airspace hit by controllers strike

A six-day strike by air traffic controllers in France is hitting flights to French airports as well as those to southern destinations using French air space, such as those to Italy and north Africa.

Low-cost airlines Ryanair and easyJet cancelled 50 per cent of the flights in and out of France on the first day of the strike. British Airways and Aer Lingus passengers faced long delays but made few cancellations. Air France said it was operating up to 90 per cent of its medium and long-haul flights. All airlines advise checking their websites for updates.

The strike by the UNSA-ICNA union represents about a quarter of French traffic controllers most of whom work in the south of France.

Union members, who regularly select the summer holiday season for industrial action, are striking this year against planned pay cuts from 2015-2019 under the European Union’s plan to reorganise EU airspace into nine blocks according to traffic flows rather than national borders as at present.