UK airline anger at latest French strike

UK airlines are being forced to cancel flights and are expressing their anger over a strike by French air traffic controllers.

The three-day strike, which starts today, has forced Luton-based low-cost airline, Easyjet, to cancel almost 130 flights, including scheduled flights to and from Nice, Toulouse and Paris Charles de Gaulle airports.

The company commented, ‘EasyJet and all other airlines operating to and from France have been advised to expect only 50 percent of normal services, which means we will be required to cancel approximately 128 flights each day.’

UK-based British Airways and Ireland-based low-cost carrier, Ryanair, are also facing disruption, with Ryanair cancelling 102 flights today alone and expressing its anger by calling for French government and European Commission intervention to stop the strike from extending to its full three days.

A spokesman for Ryanair commented, ‘It is unacceptable that the skies over Europe are repeatedly closed or flights are delayed by the unjustified strike action of tiny numbers of air traffic controllers. These public servants are among the most overpaid and protected in Europe and yet they repeatedly opt for the strike weapon as a first, rather than a last resort. We are into the peak summer season in Europe and already the French air traffic controllers are engaged in strike action, which will result in 102 Ryanair flights being cancelled on Tuesday, with many others at risk of disruption.’

‘The solution to this problem is simple: remove their right to strike in exactly the same way that air traffic controllers in the USA are prevented by law from striking. Until then, it is up to the EU Commission and French Government to ensure there are no further cancellations on Wednesday and Thursday as a result of these unwarranted strikes.’

The strike is taking place in protest against plans by the EU to create a single European airspace. Air traffic control unions across Europe fear that the so-called Single European Sky project will affect their members working conditions as well as public safety. In support of the protest, strikes or other industrial action could also take place from Wednesday of this week in the UK, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Slovakia.