| 5.1°C Dublin

Air traffic control strike leaving 2,000 Irish in lurch

UP to 2,000 Irish people will face cancelled flights today as French air traffic controllers go on strike, effectively closing their air space.

The action has prompted Ryanair's Michael O'Leary to call on the EU Commission to remove the 'right to strike' from essential services such as air traffic control (ATC) and to reform passenger rights' legislation.

A spokesman for the airline confirmed it had been forced to cancel 250 flights into and through French air space today, 10 of which are out of or into Irish airports.

So far in 2010, Ryanair has been forced to cancel 1,650 flights and delay more than 12,000 other flights as a direct result of Belgian, French and Spanish ATC strikes and work-to-rules.

Aer Lingus said it had cancelled two flights between Dublin and Paris but that all passengers were being accommodated on earlier or later flights.

A spokesman at the Air France office in Dublin said "some" flights were cancelled due to the strike.

Mr O'Leary said: "It's time the 'right to strike' in ATC was removed as it is for other essential services like police and fire services. If these people don't want to work, replace them with military and other controllers who do."

Irish Independent