France's Air Traffic Controllers' Strike Sparks Over 300 Flight Cancellations Amid Travel Chaos

By Madz Dizon

Apr 26, 2024 05:29 PM EDT

France's Air Traffic Control Strike Sparks Over 300 Flight Cancellations Amid Travel Chaos
Cabin crew members wait to board an aircraft of low-cost Irish airline Ryanair at the Berlin-Brandenburg airport in Schoenefeld near Berlin, on April 4, 2024.
(Photo : DAVID GANNON/AFP via Getty Images)

Airline passengers experienced a frustrating day of travel disruptions as numerous flights were canceled due to concerns of potential worker strikes in France, despite the strike ultimately not taking place.

Ryanair announced the cancellation of 300 flights, impacting 50,000 of its customers. Similarly, easyJet also had to cancel 200 flights.

Frasnce Air Traffic Controllers' Strike Cancelled

Numerous flights to and from mainland Europe experienced disruptions, causing inconvenience for British passengers traveling to popular continental destinations such as Italy and Spain.

The chaos unfolded even though France's largest air traffic controller union SNCTA chose to cancel their strike at the last minute on Wednesday.

However, the agreement with management arrived too late to significantly reduce the chaos, as the DGAC, France's civil aviation authority, had already mandated airlines to cancel the majority of their flights.

French civil aviation authorities had proactively advised airlines to reduce their flight schedules significantly. 

The requested reductions were 75% at Paris-Orly, 55% at Charles-de-Gaulle, and 65% at Marseille-Provence, with varying decreases at other French airports, according to Fox News.

Consequently, operations faced significant restrictions, which also had an impact on international flights passing through French airspace.

Ryanair claims that France has not adequately safeguarded overflights during its national air strikes. 

The airline is calling on the EU to exert more pressure on France to minimize the impact of labor actions.

As stated by Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O'Leary, French air traffic controllers have the freedom to go on strike as it is their right.

In accordance with the Birmingham Mail, Spain is expected to be heavily impacted by the aviation strikes in France, as reported by the Association of Airlines.

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Flight Operations in France Still Affected

Unfortunately, the agreements were reached too late to avoid traffic disruptions, as several talks with other unions were still ongoing, according to the DGAC.  

In the words of Ourania Georgoutsakou, the Head of Airlines for Europe (A4E), the withdrawal of the strike notice may provide some relief for certain passengers, Daily Mail reported. 

However, due to its last-minute nature, there will still be considerable disruption to flights in France and other parts of Europe.

In accordance with A4E, there were a total of 85,000 flight delays and 16,000 cancellations last year in Europe, primarily caused by air traffic control strikes.

READ MORE: Norway Airspace Shuts Down for Several Hours Following Technical Glitch 

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