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Saturday 17 September 2022

Strike disrupts weekend travel plans

The French love a strike.

Particularly when it is as disruptive as possible. Blocking major roads for hours and inconveniencing commuters and other travellers are familiar tactics.

This week it was French air traffic controllers causing chaos at airports including Charles de Gaulle (above) in Paris.

The strike - and staff shortages - forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights.

France’s aviation authority, the DGAC, this week asked airlines to slash schedules to minimise disruption - a bizarre concept.

Airlines including Air France and budget carrier Ryanair were badly affected with Ryanair saying the main impact came from limits on overflying French airspace.

Ryanair blasted the "unjustified strike, which achieves nothing but disrupt thousands of European citizens/visitors’ weekend travel plans".

French air traffic control union SNCTA said in a statement that the walkout by its members was over the effects of inflation and its demand for more staff members. 

"It is inexplicable that thousands of European citizens/visitors will have their travel plans unfairly disrupted by yet another French ATC (air traffic control) strike," Ryanair said in a statement.

The Irish airline said the travel plans of 80,000 passengers had been affected when it had cancelled 420 flights, many of which were to fly over France.

Air France said it would operate only 45% of its short and medium-range flights but 90% of its long-haul flights.

Low-cost carrier EasyJet said it had cancelled 76 flights due to the strike.

Some local airports were temporarily closed, including Montpellier and Rennes, Travel Mole reported.

Major airports in neighbouring countries also felt the impact, with Spanish airport operator AENA saying it had been forced to cancel 65 flights.

The air traffic strike has followed unrest from pilots and baggage handlers, who are are asking for pay increases and better working conditions.

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