'French air strike? It must mean good weather is on the way'
Tongue-in-cheek theory put forward along with analysis of historic weather data
French air traffic controllers are planning a series of strikes this week – a sign that working standards aren’t up to scratch, pay isn’t sufficient... or simply that warm weather is on the way.
That’s the tongue-in-cheek theory put forward by EUclaim, an airline data specialist, ahead of the latest series of walkouts by the union SNCTA.
To support its dubious suggestion, it has unearthed weather data for each of the last nine days that the country’s air traffic controllers took industrial action.
Three French cities feature in the research – Paris, Marseille and Bordeaux – and on almost every occasion the weather was good.
Last summer’s strikes, for example, which occurred on May 15, June 24 and June 25, coincided with sunny skies and no rainfall, with temperatures ranging from 13C-22C in Paris, 17C-26C in Bordeaux and 18C-30C in Marseille.
The previous summer also saw walkouts on cloudless days, with temperatures on June 11 and 12 ranging from 18C-19C in Paris, 18C-25C in Bordeaux and 23C-26C in Marseille.
On only one occasion – January 30, 2014 – was there rain, and even then it was only Marseille that suffered.
The counter argument, of course, is that the data merely reflects seasonal weather conditions for the three French cities. A June day in Paris typically sees temperatures ranging from 14C-23C, with a 43 per cent chance of rain, while in Marseille one can expect something between 16C and 26C, with a 16 per cent chance of showers.
But the firm remains undeterred. “French Air Traffic Controllers are persistent strikers, with nine days of strikes over the last two years,” it said. “The next series of strikes are planned for April 8-9; April 16-18 and April 29 – May 2. It may be a coincidence but a quick glance at the forecast for the first strike in early April is very promising indeed.”
The forecast is indeed good – Parisians can expect sunshine, and temperatures of 17C-19C, the outlook is similar for Bordeaux, though Thursday could see some cloud cover, while Marseille will also be basking in fine weather.
But with dates for industrial action planned weeks in advance, it's nothing more than a coincidence - the suggestion doesn’t hold any water.
According to Eurocontrol, the European air traffic safety organisation, the strikes could have a “potentially significant impact with many cancellations”. The French Directorate General of Civil Aviation said that 40 per cent of flights across the country would be affected.
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.
The airline said all discommoded customers have been contacted and advised of their options.
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.
A British Airways spokesman said the airline would be taking steps to minimise the impact on its customers but warned there were bound to be what he described as "knock-on delays".
"We will be using larger aircraft as well as re-routing some flights throughout the strike period to try to help as many customers as possible get to where they need to be," he said.
Easyjet has already cancelled 118 flights to and from France, including 10 which were due to take off or land in Britain.