Ryanair urges France to intervene over 'grossly unfair' strikes
Ryanair has condemned the "selfish actions" of the French aviation unions responsible for this week's industrial action, which has caused lengthy delays and cancellations for flights between the UK and France.
Hundreds of passengers flying with easyJet, Ryanair and British Airways will continue to face flight cancellations up until Tuesday, due to prolonged strikes being carried out by air traffic control in France.
Passengers travelling from Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton Airport were forced to wait for or reschedule their flights on Sunday, with the disruption expected to continue until the industrial action ends later this week.
In response, Ryanair has called on the French Government and the European Commission to intervene in order to prevent British passengers being "held to ransom" by "tiny numbers" of French workers.
Ryanair also pointed out that the strikes were also affecting flights overflying France, meaning that travellers whose whose flights neither take-off from or land in a French airport are also suffering.
The airline is now urging its customers to sign a petition to the European Commission, which it hopes will bring to an end the "repeated blackmail and disruption by ATC unions".
Robin Kiely, head of communications at Ryanair, said the strikes were "unwarranted" and "grossly unfair".
"Due to yet another French ATC strike - the 41st such strike since 2009 - we regret that we were forced to cancel a number of flights on Sunday, with further flights cancelled on Monday, and delays likely," he added.
"It's grossly unfair that thousands of ordinary European consumers have their travel and holiday plans disrupted by the actions of a selfish few.
"We also encourage any affected customers to sign our online petition, Keep Europe's Skies Open."
Officials at Gatwick said that passengers had experienced delays averaging more than 50 minutes on Sunday, while Luton Airport confirmed that flights to Amsterdam and Nimes had been affected as a result of a "knock-on effect in the network".
A spokesman for easyJet confirmed that 82 flights had been cancelled, including 32 arriving and departing from the UK.
British Airways refused to disclose how many flights would be affected by the strikes, but said that it was doing "all we can to minimise disruption to customers affected."
A spokeswoman added that larger aircraft were now being used and some flights were being re-routed.