Warning over air traffic control strike


Football fans flying to France to cheer on England, Wales or Northern Ireland at the Euro 2016 tournament could be disrupted by a strike by air traffic controllers (ATCs).

More than 100 flights will be cancelled and many others delayed according to Airlines for Europe (A4E), a lobby group representing carriers such as easyJet and British Airways’ parent company IAG.

The industrial action will disrupt flights operating to or from France, or over French airspace. It is the 50th strike by French ATCs since 2009, which Thomas Reynaert, of A4E, described as a “pathetic milestone”.

He said: “Understandably, European passengers and airlines are frustrated as these strikes take place at a very busy time of the year.

“The European Commission and governments must act immediately to protect the rights of millions of European travellers affected by this repeated and disproportionate industrial action.

“It’s not only holidaymakers whose travel plans are in jeopardy, but fans visiting Euro 2016, which is being held in France, are also at risk and face the real prospect of sitting on the tarmac on a delayed flight while holding tickets to see their country playing.”

Ryanair has cancelled 44 flights due to the 24-hour strike. The airline is urging people to sign a petition calling on the European Commission and European Parliament to protect passengers from “repeated blackmail ... by air traffic control unions”.

It calls for the French ATC unions to be required to engage in binding arbitration, for other European ATCs to be allowed to manage flights in French airspace during strikes and a new regulation that protects flights over France.