Strike stops 50% flights to, from France
France’s civil aviation authority has asked companies to kill half of the flights to and from the country, having had its hand further forced by air traffic controllers’ strike action.
The authority called on the airlines to effect the cancellations on Thursday, the second day of the two-day-long industrial action by the flight control staff over working conditions. It had earlier called for the cancellation of 40 percent of inbound and outbound flights.
Flag carrier Air France warned of “very severe disruption” to its flight schedule.
Although it pledged to operate “almost all” long-haul flights, medium and short-haul services would be badly affected, it said, adding, “We cannot rule out last-minute delays and cancellations.”
Low-cost operator Ryanair said it had been forced to cancel more than 250 flights due to the industrial action.
“It’s grossly unfair that thousands of European travelers will once again have their travel plans disrupted by the selfish actions of a tiny number of French … workers,” the Irish airline fumed.
The protest action has been called by the main air traffic union SNCTA. It has demanded officials hold talks with union representatives over working conditions and consider a decline in the retirement age currently set at 59 years.
This file photo taken on September 17, 2014 shows the Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport’s empty control tower. © AFP photo
The union insists that for the past 10 years, talks over working conditions have taken place outside the formal structure for union-management negotiations.
Further industrial action is planned from April 16 to 18 and from April 29 to May 2, key holiday periods.