ATC Strike Grounds Ivory Coast Flights

September 27, 2006

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Air traffic controllers in Ivory Coast went on strike on Monday, causing the cancellation of almost all flights to and from Abidjan Airport, a hub for air travel around West Africa and to Europe, officials said.

An official at airport operator Aeria said the strike was called to demand payment of a special bonus to each of Abidjan airport's 27 air traffic controllers, who are employed by African civil aviation authority ASECNA.

"We do not know how long the strike will go on. Some people at ASECNA have said 48 hours, while others say flights have been suspended indefinitely," the official added.

Only an evening Air France flight from Paris was still expected to fly as normal on Tuesday, an official at airport operator Aeria said, but gave no explanation of why the French airline was able to land and others were not.

Air France's Abidjan office said the evening flight had already left Paris and confirmed it was expected to land in Abidjan later on Tuesday.

(Reuters)