Monday 11 December 2017

Euro 2016 travel chaos looms as French air strikes force Ryanair to cancel flights


Meadhbh McGrath

Ryanair have been forced to cancel 75 flights as a result of ongoing strike action by French air traffic control staff.

French ATC unions have announced that they will strike tomorrow, marking the ninth day of industrial action in the last 10 weeks.

As well as Thursday’s cancelled flights, Ryanair warned that “further flight delays and cancellations are likely” as three more days of strikes are planned this weekend.

The airline said that it would provide updates with more information throughout the week, and added that the “unjustified ATC disruptions are entirely outside of our control”.

Last week, Ryanair called on the European Commission to take action to prevent a “summer of disruption”.

It said in a statement: “Ryanair and other EU airlines have repeatedly called upon the Commission to introduce three simple measures which would alleviate the impact of such of ATC strikes on consumers as follows:

(a) require French ATC unions to engage in binding arbitration instead of strikes to resolve their claims, or

(b) allow Europe’s other ATCs to operate overflights over France while ATC unions are on strike

(c) require that flights over France are protected while ATC unions are on strike.”

Passengers are advised to check the status of their flight on Ryanair’s website before heading to the airport.

Customers affected by the cancellations can transfer their flights free of charge or apply for a refund online.

French ATC unions have announced that further strikes will be planned to not only affect tourists going on their summer holidays, but will be coordinated to directly target the European Championships being held in France between 10 June and 10 July, so that football fans from Europe and beyond will be at the mercy of French ATC unions as to whether they’ll be able to attend their teams matches or not.

Ryanair's Kenny Jacobs said: "This latest strike action by the French ATC unions is a clear escalation of their attempts to cause as much disruption as possible, and not only will European consumers heading off in huge numbers on their summer holidays be affected, football fans from all over the continent face massive disruption as they get ready for the European Championships, which begin next week."

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