Third day of French air traffic control strike called off

Third day of French air traffic control strike called off

Air traffic controllers in France have called off the third day of a walkout planned for tomorrow.

Some 1,800 flights were cancelled out of about 7,650 scheduled yesterday and a similar number are expected to be affected today.

Larger French airports have been hardest hit, with half of flights out of Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux cancelled.

Air traffic controllers had walked out in protest against EU plans to liberalise civil airspace on Tuesday, arguing plans for a ‘Single European Sky’ would adversely affect their working conditions and result in job cuts.

However, the third day of action was called off after moves from France and Germany to delay the project.

French transport minister Frederic Cuvillier announced he and his German counterpart had handed the European transport commissioner a memorandum asking the European executive to freeze the project.

They argued national authorities needed more time to adapt to the planned organisation.

However, European airspace users have offered their support to the European Commission’s move to break the deadlock of Single European Sky and strongly condemn the industrial actions of air traffic controllers.

“Instead of industrial actions and counterproductive confrontation, which will severely penalise European air passengers, airspace users call for a clear commitment by all stakeholders, including states, to work together to achieve the successful and timely implementation of the Single European Sky,” said the European Regions Airline Association in a statement.

“There is a real need to address this situation urgently: solutions exist but they require a real political and institutional impulse.”