The air traffic controllers have announced the dates of their second strike over France later this week, from Thursday to Saturday, just as families in the school zones A and C get ready to head on holiday.
Last week’s 48-hour strike by the Syndicat National des Contrôleurs de Trafic Aérien saw approximately 1,300 French airline flights cancelled, which works out at about one in two flights and it was estimated to have cost airlines across Europe €50million. French air space is the busiest in Europe.
The controllers are protesting against changes to the working practices, plans to raise their retirement age from 57 to 59 and rationalisation plans for European airspace.
SNCTA represents 41% of the 4,000 French controllers and the transport minister has called talks between management and unions today. If no agreement is reached then the SNCTA has called this week’s strike plus another one from April 30 to May 2.
Passengers should get advance notice from their airlines if their flight is going to be affected, but it is better to check directly beforehand just to be sure. Controllers are bound to offer a minimum 50% service as Staff can be ordered to work to maintain this minimum service.
In the first wave of strikes, EasyJet was one of the hardest hit and had to cancel most flights to and from France, cancelling 331 flights on Thursday and 248 on Wednesday last week. Ryanair was also badly hit saying that it had had to cancel more than 500 flights.
However some airlines such as Jet2 and Monarch said they had managed to fly almost their complete schedule by re-routing their flight paths to avoid French air traffic control.
It must be remembered that it is not just internal flights or international flights taking off or landing in France, but planes crossing French airspace will also be affected.
The school areas likely to be affected by this week’s strike are Zone A: Caen, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nancy-Metz, Nantes, Rennes and Toulouse with Zone C: Bordeaux, Créteil, Paris and Versailles.