French ATC Strike Causes Over 500 Flight Cancellations

May 8, 2019

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Flights across French airspace will be disrupted on Wednesday and Thursday as air traffic controllers join a 35-hour national public sector strike.

The industrial action started at 19:00 (7pm) local time Wednesday and lasts until 06:00 (6am) on Friday morning. Over 550 flights have been cancelled during that period.

The French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has asked airlines flying to and from several airports in the country to reduce their flight schedules by 30 percent, with major delays, re-routings and cancellations expected.

Airlines for Europe (A4E), which represents 15 airline groups said at least 75,000 passengers will be impacted by the ATC strike. The lobby group urged French policymakers to improve the predictability of future traffic strikes’ impact by putting in place a 72-hour notification requirement for employees wanting to strike.

A4E's Managing Director Thomas Reynaert said that “For years, our calls to implement these solutions have unfortunately gone unanswered and millions of EU passengers have seen their travel plans ruined. We remain hopeful, however, that progress can still be made.”

A similar French public sector strike in 2018 caused the cancellation of over 900 flights, in a year which had a total of 30 French ATC strike days. That represents 75 percent of all ATC strikes in Europe last year.