Financial News

  • 23 June 2014, 21:35

France Warns Airlines Over Six-Day Strike

France has urged airlines to cut plane traffic to key airports by up to a fifth, ahead of a week-long air controllers' strike.

The country is braced for travel chaos after the strike's scheduled start on Tuesday.

No-frills carrier Ryanair has already announced on its website that 26 flights to France have been cancelled on June 24 and others overflying the country may be affected or delayed.

British Airways told Sky News it has cancelled several flights and expects "knock-on delays to some other short-haul" destinations.

It added: "We will look to use larger aircraft where we can to help affected customers on cancelled flights so they can rebook free of charge to alternative flights.

"We would urge customers to keep checking our website during the week for the very latest information about their specific flights."

Easyjet said it has cancelled 32 non-UK flights to and from six French airports. Flybe also said its flights would be hit.

The industrial action is expected to last six days and the civil aviation body wants flight cuts to Paris and some other cities.

The agency assured travellers by saying around three-quarters of flights would be operational.

"Flights to southern France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria leaving from Paris" would be slightly less affected, with services reduced by 20%.

France is the world's most popular tourist destination and the strike comes amid the peak of the travelling season.

It also follows a rail protest that affected services to foreign countries as well as domestically. Not all train services have yet returned to normal.

France's two biggest air controllers' unions, SNCTA and Unsa-ICNA, had arranged to strike for six days and warned of "heavy disruption".

SNCTA later called off its action.

Next week, France has a deadline to give Brussels details of its five-year budget plan for the sector.

The strikers are protesting against cuts due to come into force between 2015 and 2019.

Unions say they will threaten the "necessary performance and modernisation needed to ensure an efficient air navigation service in France".

The reductions are part of a European Commission plan known as Single Sky Europe, which is to restructure airspace into operational units rather than national borders.

But the unions say the plan will create "forced low-cost" ethos in air traffic.

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