After predicting a few dozen cancellations, Ryanair cancelled over 200 flights due to the French ATC strike yesterday and plans 256 more cancellations today.
This follows the chaos caused by the six-day strike, which began yesterday, and the call from the ATC Eurocontrol body for all airlines to cut their schedules to and from France by at least 20% – to assist ATC staff who are not striking to cope with traffic volumes safely.
EasyJet is another major European airline with multiple routes in France and it said this morning that it has already cancelled approximately 20% of its services in, out and over France today and expects to make more cancellations throughout the day. The airline says it is particularly vulnerable since 65% of its aircraft fly over French airspace and are obviously subject to French air traffic regulations.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has already condemned the strike action in the strongest possible terms, accusing striking French air traffic controllers of targeting travellers at the start of the busy summer holiday season.
‘MALICIOUS STRIKE ACTION TIMING…’
“Unions bent on stopping progress are putting at risk the hard-earned vacations of millions of travellers, and from the public’s perspective, the timing of the strike could even be regarded as malicious,” said Tony Tyler IATA’s Director General and CEO. [For story click here: http://www.trbusiness.com/index.php/regional/europe/15456-iata-french-strike-indefensible-and-malicious.html].
In a statement last night, Ryanair said: “The slot delays caused by the French ATC strike today are continuing to cause severe disruptions for our customers. ATC delays of up to six hours are now being allocated to Ryanair flights operating to/from France, and also flying over France.”
After cancelling more than 200 flights yesterday, Ryanair is predicting more misery today on its website, which lists another 256 cancellations: “At this time, French ATC are predicting that slot delays will be ‘materially worse’. The French Authorities (the DGAC) have requested Ryanair to cancel up to 20% of our flight programme for Wednesday, in order to ease the pressure on French ATC services.”
Rival easyJet is also expecting a difficult day: “We expect to experience severe disruption to our flying programme today across Europe due to a French Air Traffic Controllers strike that began yesterday and will continue until 30th June. We have already cancelled approximately 20% of our flights into and out of France today and we are expecting to have to make more cancellations throughout the day.
“Sixty five per cent of easyJet flights fly over French airspace and are subject to French air traffic regulations, and as such we are expecting significant delays to many of our flights. The DGAC are meeting this morning to discuss the impact of strike action for Thursday 26th June. Once we receive the update from this meeting, we will be able to provide details of expected disruption for tomorrow.”