French ATC strike prompts hundreds of cancellations
Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The SNCTA union - France's largest - has called a strike for Wednesday and Thursday in a dispute over working conditions. The DGAC civil aviation authority has asked airlines to cut their schedules for flights to and from France on Wednesday by 40%. Short-haul flights are expected to be worst affected. "Disruption is expected over the whole country," the DGAC said in a statement. Travellers have been advised to contact their airline.
Air France says that it expects to operate almost all its long-haul flights and 60% of its medium-haul flights to and from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Travellers booked on short and medium-haul Air France flights on Wednesday or Thursday can choose to travel between 10 and 15 April instead, it said.
The second-largest airline in France is easyJet, which says “We expect significant impact to our flights during this period, including cancellations. We will advise all affected passengers of any flight changes via e-mail.” British Airways hopes to operate as many flights as possible. The airline may also deploy larger aircraft; 11 flights from Heathrow to Paris are scheduled for Wednesday, all using narrow-bodied jets with a total of about 1,800 seats. That same number of passengers could be carried in just six flights using BA’s bigger Boeing 777 aircraft.
From UK airports, the vast majority of flights to and from southern Europe travel through French airspace if they are taking the most direct track. Some of those flights can be diverted to avoid France relatively easily, but that adds pressure on nearby countries’ airspace. Low-cost airline Ryanair says it has had to cancel more than 250 flights, with further cancellations likely.
A particular grievance for the SNCTA is the raising of the retirement age for air traffic controllers by two years to 59. Further action is planned between 16-18 April and 29 April-2 May.
Written by: Team Flight-Delayed.co.uk