Sunday 22 April 2018

Irish passengers face air chaos as French air traffic controllers to strike

Aer Lingus
Aer Lingus

Mark O’Regan

Irish passengers heading to and from France face travel chaos as the country’s air traffic controllers launch a series of strikes.

The country’s civil aviation body has urged airlines across the continent to cut flights by up to 40pc as a preventative measure.

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled as the air traffic controllers dispute looks set to intensify.

The upheaval will affect travellers returning to Ireland from Easter holidays on the continent.

The eight-day strike, called by a leading trade union, is due to start tomorrow.

The French civil aviation agency has warned "disruption is expected over the whole country.”

Ryanair has cancelled 17 flights in and out of Shannon and Dublin airports.

In total, it has cancelled 250 flights across various European routes, which will affect thousands of its passengers.

The airline also warned further cancellations and delays are likely, and urged customers should check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport.

In a statement, it accused the striking workers of engaging in “selfish” behaviour.

“It's grossly unfair that thousands of European travellers will once again have their travel plans disrupted by the selfish actions of a tiny number of French ATC workers,” a spokeswoman told

The airline said all discommoded customers have been contacted and advised of their options.

Ryanair urged the French government and the EU to “take measures” to prevent further cancelations and delays.

It also apologised to all customers affected by this “unwarranted strike action.”

A  list of cancellations can be found of the airline’s website.

Meanwhile, Aer Lingus said it has been forced to cancel two flights: EI 522 Dublin to Paris and EI 523 Paris to Dublin.

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

All other Aer Lingus flights between Ireland and France are scheduled to operate.

A statement from the airline said: “We will notify customers through all available communications channels should this situation change.

“Customers are advised to check the status of their flight on prior to departing for the airport.”

The airline also apologised for the disruption caused “due to matters beyond our control.”

The main air traffic controllers' union, the SNCTA, has also urged industrial action on 16-18 April and 29 April to 2 May.

They are calling for talks over working practices and retirement age, currently set at 59 for air traffic controllers.

The SNCTA has already threatened strike earlier but scrapped the proposed industrial action in the wake of the germanwings  crash that killed 150 people.

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