French air traffic controllers plan further strike action

UK flights cancelled this week and more predicted next wee

Flight delays

Thousands of Easter holiday air passengers have been affected by a strike by French air traffic controllers - and another stoppage is planned for next week, with yet another one at the end of this month.

This week, Ryanair axed more than 250 flights, while easyJet, which had hoped to limit Wednesday's cancellations to 118, had to eventually scrap as many as 198 services.

The Easyjet axings included 52 services either departing or arriving at UK airports, while around 70 of Ryanair's cancelled flights today were UK or Irish ones.

Easyjet said that it was cancelling 194 flights today (Thursday) of which 48 were either leaving or arriving at UK airports. Source: PA.

British Airways, which put on bigger planes on some routes, and Flybe were among other carriers that had to cancel flights.

Ryanair said: "We sincerely apologise to all customers affected by this unwarranted strike action and we call on the EU and French authorities to take measures to prevent any further disruption.

"It's grossly unfair that thousands of European travellers will once again have their travel plans disrupted by the selfish actions of a tiny number of French air traffic control workers."

The strikers are protesting against restructuring plans that, they say, threaten the air navigation service in France.

Simon McNamara, director general of the European Regions Airline Association, said: "This action, during one of the busiest passenger traffic weeks of the year, is completely unjustified and unreasonable.

"Europe's airlines and passengers continue to suffer at the hands of air traffic control unions who are reluctant to recognise the opportunities for Europe that the modernisation of its air traffic management system presents."

British Airways said it was cancelling 14 flights from London today (Thursday).

A BA spokesman said: "We are continuing to do all we can to minimise disruption. We are using larger aircraft as well as re-routing some flights to try to help as many customers as possible get to where they need to be.

"Unfortunately, there will be some knock-on delays to other parts of our short-haul network as a result of the strike action, given how much airspace in Europe will be affected.

"We are sorry for the disruption to customers' travel plans. Customers who were due to travel on a cancelled flight can claim a full refund or be rebooked on to alternative flights."

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