British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair are among the airlines that have been forced to cancel flights because of French controller strikes. Up to 550 flights have been hit with delays or cancellations causing travel chaos for 75,000 passengers.
French air traffic controllers and engineers working for DSNA (Direction des Services de la navigation aérienne), the national air-navigation provider, began their 35-hour walkout yesterday at 7pm local time and intend to stay on strike until 6am tomorrow (Friday).
The action is part of a wider national protest by public servants against President Emmanuel Macron’s new working conditions. Travel chaos comes as a huge number of aircraft normally overfly France resulting in delays and cancellations.
French authorities have stipulated a minimum service level of 50 per cent of overflights and others will be able to avoid French airspace altogether. In the meantime Switzerland is opening additional airspace for aircraft to pass through but even this may result in a build-up of delays.
Affected airports include Paris Orly, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse, Nantes, with Perpignan and Pau airports closing at night. Routes between the UK and France, as well as Portugal and Spain face cancellations and delays.
An easyJet spokeswoman said
“Due to a national strike in France on Thursday 9 May which will affect public services including Air Traffic Controllers in France, easyJet is expecting disruption to its flying programme.
“This will affect flights to and from France as well as flights flying over French airspace which may be significantly impacted during this period.
“Like other airlines flying to and from France, easyJet is required to cancel a proportion of its French programme and, we are also expecting other flights to experience delays.”
Travellers are advised to check with their airline before heading to the airport.