French Flight Disruptions Worsen as Controllers Strike

  • Walkout leads to cancellations, delays extending into Monday
  • Paris's Orly airport hit particularly hard, authority says

French aviation authorities asked airlines to cancel more Paris and Marseille flights as a two-day strike by air-traffic controllers disrupts services for passengers across France and in other European cities.

Orly airport south of the French capital was particularly hard hit by labor disruptions, the Direction Generale de l’Aviation Civile said Sunday in a statement. Even before the latest request for cancellations through Monday, as many as 180 flights had been called off across France, it said.

The strike caused delays of more than an hour on average at airports around the capital and in regions like Toulouse and Bordeaux, and of two hours in the southern city of Marseille, according to an official at the authority. DGAC didn’t estimate the number of flights that would be canceled through Monday. It did say that services at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, the nation’s main international gateway, were unlikely to be affected.

Air-traffic controllers began the strike on Sunday to protest plans to lower the rate at which retiring colleagues are replaced, the UNSA-ICNA union said in a statement.

To prepare for disruptions, the aviation authority on Friday asked airlines to reduce the number of flights on Sunday and Monday by 20 percent. That was extended to 50 percent from 4 p.m. local time Sunday for flights through Orly and to 30 percent on Monday for Orly and Marseille. There were no changes made for Lyon, Nice and Beauvais.

Flight Cancellations

British Airways said it had canceled some flights to and from France, while other short-haul services were likely to be delayed “given how many flights would normally use French airspace,” according to its website. The airline revised its schedule for Monday and said it’s using larger aircraft where possible.

EasyJet Plc said it had canceled Orly services serving Berlin and Geneva, while some connections at Air France-KLM Group including between Orly and Marseille were listed as canceled on its website. Ryanair Holdings Plc said it’s canceled dozens of flights through Monday.

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