France’s biggest ATC union calls off strike, but passengers still face major disruption

By Kelly Ranson
25/04/2024
Home » France’s biggest ATC union calls off strike, but passengers still face major disruption

The largest union representing air traffic control workers in France has called off strike plans, but passengers have warned there will be major disruption and many cancellations.

The SNCTA union confirmed on Wednesday that it had called off its 24-hour strike, planned for Thursday (25 April), however, two smaller unions that represent ATC workers did not.

The French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) had already asked airlines to cut flights by 75% at Paris-Orly airport; by 55% at Paris Charles-De-Gaulle airport; by 65% at Marseille airport and by 45% at all other airports.

An easyJet spokesperson said the airline has extended its customer service lines for an extra two hours, until 10pm on Wednesday and Thursday, although a message on its website says UK customer service lines will be open on both days until midnight.

A4E, which represents several European airlines, warned thousands of passengers had been ‘left in limbo’, despite SNCTA withdrawing notice of its strike action.

“Airlines still do not have full clarity this afternoon of what French ATC capacity will be tomorrow, meaning there will still be significant disruption for flight operations and passengers,” it said.

A4E added: “In advance of the strike, airlines had been forced to cancel more than 2,000 flights, the majority of which would have landed or departed from France. Another 1,000 flights would have had to divert away from French airspace causing further delays and disruption.”

EasyJet said: “Due to national air traffic control strike action in France on Thursday 25 April, the French authorities (DGAC) have requested that all airlines make significant cancellations to their flying programmes, with overflights also expected to be impacted by the action. Any customers whose flights are not able to operate by this have been notified in advance and offered the option to change their flight for free or receive a refund. 

“Any customers whose flights are not able to operate by this have been notified in advance and offered the option to change their flight for free or receive a refund. 

“While this is outside of our control, we would like to apologise to our customers for any disruption to their travel plans and inconvenience they may experience as a result of the strike action. To provide additional support all our customers services lines’ opening hours will be extended to 10pm.”

Ryanair has cancelled more than 300 flights across its network.

The airline said: “Even though it’s French ATC that are striking, most disrupted passengers are not flying to/from France but overfly French airspace en route to their destination (e.g., UK – Greece, Spain, Italy).”

British Airways said: “Like all airlines, due to industrial action by French Air Traffic Control, we’ve had to make some adjustments to our schedule. This is out of our control and we’ve apologised to our customers for the disruption to their travel plans. Our teams are working to get our customers to their destinations as quickly as possible.”

The Foreign Office has updated its advice for France to say flights across the country will be disrupted.

The FCDO said: “Check your operator’s advice before travelling, including where you are taking connecting flights.”

Share this article

Latest News

Loading