Passengers warned flights could be disrupted as French ATC staff walk out

Flight disruption French ATC strike
By Lisa James
Home » Passengers warned flights could be disrupted as French ATC staff walk out

Airlines are warning passengers of the potential for disruption today because of another strike by French air traffic controllers.

Industrial action began at 6pm on Sunday, will run throughout the whole of Monday, and is expected to finish at 6am on Tuesday (21 November).

Four airports – Paris-Orly, Toulouse-Blagnac, Bordeaux-Mérignac and Marseille-Provence – are affected and as many as one in four flights could be cancelled, French media reports, with others being delayed.

The French Civil Aviation Authority said: “Despite our preventative measures, passengers should still expect delays.

“Passengers who are able to travel at a later date should do so,” the French CAA said.

Ryanair warned the strike will not just affect passengers flying to France.

A Ryanair spokesperson said: “Even more passengers will have their flights cancelled at short notice due to this French ATC strike on Monday, despite not even flying to/from France. This is because France unfairly uses minimum service laws to protect French flights while forcing cancellations on overflights from Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the UK. 

“We have no problem with French ATC unions exercising their right to strike, but the EU Commission should insist that cancellations due to French ATC strikes are allocated to French flights, not those overflying France en route to another unrelated EU destination.” has warned passengers there may be disruption, while easyJet told customers to check their flight status.

EasyJet said: “We expect that there will be delays and some disruption due to the industrial action, therefore we advise all customers to check the status of their flight on our flight tracker.” said: “We will be working hard to ensure that the impact on our flights is minimal, however, you may encounter some disruption if you are travelling during this time. Please be prepared for possible longer than normal waits onboard your aircraft to depart.”

The walkout is in protest against a new law, passed last week, which requires individual ATC staff to give 48 hours’ notice of a strike. Before that, although unions did have to give notice, individual air traffic controllers did not have to inform their employers.

Today’s French ATC strike follows disruption at Heathrow at the weekend, which was blamed on strong winds and a shortage of NATS staff.

British Airways was among carriers that had to make cancellations yesterday and some BA short-haul departures have been cancelled today, including to Barcelona, Zurich, Toulouse, Basel and Nice.

A BA spokesperson said: “Industrial action by French air traffic control staff means we’ve had to make some adjustments to our short-haul schedule. We’re in contact with our customers to inform them of their rights and offer them options including a full refund or rebooking onto an alternative flight.”

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