Julian Bray Aviation Analyst & Broadcaster writes: In answer to the dozens of telephone callers questioning why we have not flagged up the latest French Air Traffic controllers strike, the 41st strike since 2009. We did and gave several months warning of the next SERIES of strikes planned by French air traffic controllers this Spring and Summer. The industrial action is over a very long running dispute on pay, conditions and lack of investment, which seems to have no possibility of any form of meaningful resolution in sight. This is part of what we said at the time :
Our general advice is if at all possible is to simply avoid French air space, ask your travel agent to reroute your party using alternative airport hubs (possibly Amsterdam /Frankfurt). The strikes are designed to coincide with major British holiday periods, to cause maximum international disruption, and certainly Easter air traffic is already affected.
Ryanair have said that flights are affected, the Irish airline said that the industrial action was the 41st strike since 2009 and once again has called on the French Government and European Commission to take action.
Ryanair added that it was “forced to cancel a number of flights on Sunday, with further flights cancelled on Monday”.
This latest series in a long running campaign of industrial action has been called by UNSA-ICNA, the French union for air traffic controllers, which has said cuts are unrealistic due to the "operational needs of control centres".
Ryanair said it condemned the "selfish action" by the French aviation unions and repeated its demand that the European Commission ban air traffic controllers from striking to prevent passengers being "held to ransom."
Robin Kiely, Ryanair director, said: "It's grossly unfair that thousands of ordinary European consumers have their travel and holiday plans disrupted by the actions of a selfish few."
The airline said the strike was not only affecting travellers going to and from France, but also those flying through French air space to reach distant destinations.
Ryanair are asking other air traffic controllers in Europe to be allowed to manage flights over French airspace during such action; the airline's flights to other parts of Europe such as Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal have been cancelled, or diverted due to the strike.
Ryanair also urged consumers to sign its "Keep Europe's Skies Open" petition to the European Commission.When it has obtained 1m signatures it said it planned to present it to the EU Commission and the EU parliament.
Air passengers intending to travel from Londons' Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton Airports are being delayed pending reschedule of flight plans affected by the action which started on Sunday.
The DGAC, France's Civil Aviation Authority, requested a third of flights were cancelled to and from Paris-Orly and other regional airports on Monday.
Source: CAA, AOP, PA, AFP, BBC, FRANCE24, CNS
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