French air traffic staff go on strike

Tourists take care this week, as your travel plans could be left up in the air by new French air traffic strikes.

French air traffic controllers are hanging up their uniforms today (Tuesday 14th June), joining forces with Air France pilots as part of a protest against working conditions.

The industrial action has been designed deliberately to coincide with the Euro 2016 tournament, which kicked off in France last week, a time when visits to and from the country will be higher than the usual busy summer period. This is far from the first industrial action to hit France’s skies, though: in fact, this is their 50th strike in the past seven years, reports The Independent, and the ninth day in the past three months.

Are you affected? The strike is certainly something to research before heading to the airport this week: while the strike officially lasts one day, there is a possibility that disruptions will continue into Wednesday 15th June, not just for flights going in and out of the country, but for those flying over the country and would usually rely upon air traffic control to guide them safely through the busy airways.

British Airways has cancelled four flights on each of its routes between London and Nice, London and Barcelona and London and Madrid, as well as flights to and from Paris, Geneva, Rome, Venice, Milan and Zurich.

Ryanair has also cancelled 40 flights, including flights from Luton to Beziers.

easyJet has already made cancellations at Gatwick, due to the closure of the main runway on Sunday 12th June, although further flights may be grounded.

Air France, which has already had flights impacted by the pilots’ strike, has announced it will operate around 85 per cent of its long haul flights, around 80 per cent of its domestic flights and three-quarters of its medium-haul flights.

Tourists may also find their plans across Europe disrupted by another pilots’ strike by Sweden’s SAS, with around 240 flights cancelled as a result. (Flights operated by crews based in Denmark and Norway, however, are running as normal.)

For more information on whether you are affected and advice on what to do, check your official airline website.