'Severe' flight disruptions for Irish travellers as air traffic controllers go on strike
Published 24/06/2014 | 02:30
Airlines are scrambling to deal with the knock on effects of the French air traffic controllers' strike - which is causing delays to Aer Lingus flights and grounding over 196 Ryanair flights across Europe.
Aer Lingus has said it is experiencing lengthy delays on flights to France, Spain, Portugal, and the Canary Islands. These make up about 20 of its flights.
Passengers to these destinations can expect delays of up to three hours today, a spokeswoman said.
Ryanair has said the disruptions caused by the French ATC strike are causing "severe disruptions" for its customers.
"ATC delays of up to six hours are now being allocated to Ryanair flights operating to/from France, and also flights flying over France."
"We expect that these delays will continue to build through the afternoon 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 a total of 196 flights which is approximately 10 per cent of Ryanair’s total schedule of over 1,600 flights today."
The airline added:"We expect the disruption to flights to/from France and Spain will continue this afternoon as all airlines schedules are heavily disrupted by this unnecessary and regrettable French ATC strike."
The airline's statement added: "Ryanair apologises sincerely for any delays or inconvenience caused to our customers by this French ATC strike."
The six-day strike action, called by French airline trade unions, has been timed ahead of a June 30 deadline for France to present its aviation budget plans to European officials.
The tighter budgets are part of a European Commission plan, called Single Sky Europe, to cut air navigation costs. A similar walkout in 2013 led to some 1,800 flights being cancelled a day across Europe.
Ryanair urged the French government and the EU to intervene to prevent further cancellations and delays.
Aer Lingus plans to update customers through email, texts, social media and on its website if the situation changes.