French air traffic control strikes hit passenger flights

French air traffic control strikes hit passenger flights

At least 200 flight cancellations and many delays have resulted from the latest air traffic control strike in Europe.

Control centres in Reims and Marseille have been on strike since Monday evening, forcing airlines to reduce their fight offerings in France and also services overflying France.

The strike will continue until Wednesday morning.

“With two-thirds of all European air traffic control strike days taking place in France, European and French policy-makers need to implement measures capable of minimising air traffic management disruption’s impact on travellers.

“More than 250 strike days since 2004 are enough - we cannot allow these well-paid air traffic controllers to restrict the rights of millions of European passengers”, said Thomas Reynaert, managing director of A4E.

ADVERTISEMENT

A4E has called on the French government to use its upcoming “Assises de la mobilité” on September 19th to identify new priorities in terms of mobility and transport and to consider measures capable of improving the predictability of strikes’ impact and decrease their damage to the French and European economy.

“Given France’s geographical location, ATC strikes in France and a consequential partial closure or the reduction of capacity in French airspace considerably decrease the potential for overflights in French airspace, and decreases the connectivity of and with other member states”, added Reynaert.

In June, the European Commission published its communication “Aviation: an Open and Connected Europe” in an effort to enhance airspace efficiency and connectivity.

The commission encourages states and stakeholders, including social partners, to take action to improve service continuity in air traffic management.

Political, operational and technological solutions exist for a problem that affects the whole continent.

Limiting the impact of air traffic management strikes on travellers and business, without questioning controllers’ fundamental right to strike, is a key objective of A4E.

Solutions A4E has called for encompass the compulsory minimum of 72 hours notification of participation in a strike, which should be implemented by states where possible and practical, and an upper airspace evolution away from geographical dependency enabling European passengers to make uninterrupted journeys throughout the continent.