French air traffic control strikes: which flights are affected?

French air traffic controllers withdrew for 24 hours from September 16 to 17, affecting flights to, from and over France. More than 80,000 Ryanair passengers have been affected, along with many more who are due to fly over French airspace to Spain and Italy.

Other strikes are threatened from September 28 to 30.

Main photo: Ryanair is among the airlines whose flights are grounded due to the strike in France (Getty Images)

Which flights are cancelled?

All flights to or through France will be impacted. This includes departures from the UK which not only fly to France but also over French airspace – the strike will impact flights to Spain, Portugal, Italy and Switzerland.

In the first round of strikes last weekend, Ryanair, easyJet and British Airways were among the airlines that canceled flights – 420 in Ryanair’s case. Air France operated 45% of its short and medium-haul flights, as well as 90% of its long-haul connections.

Why are they knocking?

Air traffic control union SNCTRA is on strike in a row over wages, saying they are not keeping pace with record inflation rates. According to the country’s civil aviation body, French air traffic controllers earn an average salary of around €60,000. The union also says that with a third of the air traffic control workforce set to retire between 2029 and 2035 and a five-year training period, funding for new recruitment is needed.

EasyJet said it would help travelers affected by the strike (Alamy)

What happens if my flight is cancelled?

Regulations on what compensation passengers can expect if their flights are delayed or canceled may not come into effect here, as air traffic control strikes are an example of ‘extraordinary circumstances’ that are beyond the company’s control. Aerial. That said, some airlines seem likely to help – easyJet, for example, said customers on canceled flights will have the choice of changing their flight for free, receiving a voucher or getting a refund.

Except in extraordinary circumstances, all flights departing from the UK, flights to the UK operated by a UK or EU airline and flights operated by a UK airline to the EU are covered by UK law regarding refunds and compensation when it comes to delays and cancellations. The legislation was passed from EU Regulation 261/2004, with any compensation paid in pounds rather than euros.

If your flight is cancelled, the airline must offer you two options: a full refund (including affected return journeys) refunded within seven days, or an alternative flight, including with a competing airline. The replacement flight may be the next available or one at a later date. You have the right to request a full refund if the alternative flight is not suitable for you. And if you have a connecting flight and decide not to travel, the airline must take you back to your original departure point. See more information here.

Will there be other strikes?

The union announced further action at the end of the month, from Wednesday 28 to Friday 30. Details may still change, but this coincides with planned strikes by the CGT union federation.

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