News

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Relief for holidaymakers as French air traffic strike ends

Published 25/06/2014|02:30

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Kirsty Morrow, 17, from belfast waits at Dublin airport after her flight to Lisbon was delayed due to the French airtraffic controllers strike. Picture credit; Damien Eagers 24/6/2014
Kirsty Morrow, 17, from Belfast waits at Dublin airport after her flight to Lisbon was delayed due to the French airtraffic controllers strike. Photo: Damien Eagers
People queue at the Ryanair desk at Dublin airport trying to find out if their flights were affected due to the French air traffic controllers strike. Picture: Damien Eagers
People queue at the Ryanair desk at Dublin airport trying to find out if their flights were affected due to the French air traffic controllers strike. Picture: Damien Eagers
People queue at the Ryanair desk at Dublin airport trying to find out if their flights were affected due to the French air traffic controllers strike. Picture: Damien Eagers
People queue at the Ryanair desk at Dublin airport trying to find out if their flights were affected due to the French air traffic controllers strike. Picture: Damien Eagers

THE French air traffic control strike, which saw hundreds of flights across Europe cancelled, has been called off.

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Ryanair have confirmed this evening they have received notification that the strike has been called off.

The airlinesaid that all scheduled flights on Thursday will operate as normal. All booked customers should proceed to the departure airport as normal.

Earlier today Ryanair has apologised for its flight cancellations and major delays which have wreaked travel chaos for passengers in Ireland and across Europe.

Ryanair's Robin Kiely told RTE News At One that the airline "fully sympathises" with those customers whose flights have been cancelled or delayed.

"We operate a far larger schedule of flights than Aer Lingus. We're the largest operator in Europe."

He said customers' travel plans have been "ruined" by "the fourth such strike in 12 months".

"We fully sympathise with those customers...their options are to take a full refund and transfer onto the next available flight."

In a statement, Ryanair said this afternoon that delays are expected to worsen throughout the evening as the backlog builds.

"ATC delays of up to four hours are now being allocated to Ryanair flights operating to/from France, and also flying over France.

"We expect that these delays will continue to build through the evening as the backlog of delayed flights rises.

"In order to minimise disruptions on the rest of our network Ryanair has been forced regrettably to cancel approx. 15% of Ryanair’s total schedule of over 1,600 flights today.

The airline said customers affected by these 250 flight cancellations will be offered a choice of reaccommodation on later flights or full refunds.

Aer Lingus said customers can expect delays to some flights. Flights most likely to be affected by delays include Benelux, the Iberian Peninsula and Southern France. Flights to other destinations may also be impacted by delays.

A statement from the airline said: "We will update customers via email, SMS messaging, social media channels and this website should the situation change."

"Customers are advised to check the status of their flights."

"We will do everything possible to minimise the disruption to customers."

In total, some 202 Ryanair flights were cancelled yesterday, with 26 of these serving Irish airports including Dublin, which was worse hit, as well as Shannon and Knock.

The airline said 30,000 of its passengers across the continent had been affected with somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 of these passengers due to fly into and out of its Irish airports.

Delays

Aer Lingus' passengers faced major delays, reported to be up to four hours, in some instances. However, the airline said it had been able to rearrange some flights, meaning none were cancelled.

The six-day strike action has been called ahead of the deadline for France to submit its aviation budget plans to European officials at the end of this month.

Yesterday, discommoded passengers at Dublin Airport spoke of severe disruption to holidays, family visits and business trips, while some said they had been waiting around 10 hours after their early-morning flights were cancelled.

Duncan Morrow and his wife Susie, along with their children, had travelled from Belfast to get a flight to Lisbon and only learned their 10am flight was cancelled as they were "about to step on to the plane".

"We had gone through check-in and security and everything and were just about to board when they announced it wasn't flying," Duncan told the Irish Independent.

"There are huge knock-on costs. It was total chaos here this morning and we're just trying to rearrange things now. My question is: did they have to cancel all these flights when Aer Lingus didn't?"

Shay and Breda McCrory, due to fly to Alicante, said there had been "a lack of communication" about the disruptions.

"We're flying to East Midlands Airport and have to wait until 5pm to hopefully fly out then," Breda said.

Around 240 Ryanair fights will be cancelled today.

Aer Lingus has not cancelled flights but has again warned of major delays.

Full refunds and information on rebooking flights is available online, the airline said.

However, passengers will lose out on the cost of accommodation, additional travel and having to rebook missed connecting flights.

Irish Independent

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