Strike By French Air Traffic Controllers Slammed
Airlines have been forced to cancel hundreds of flights to, from and across France on the second day of a six-day walkout by air traffic controllers.
The stoppage comes at the height of the tourist season and follows a rail strike that affected services abroad and domestically and is still continuing in some parts.
According to the country's civil aviation watchdog, about one in five flights travelling to and from several big cities in the south, or taking off from Paris to the south, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, were cancelled on Tuesday.
Passengers also experienced delays on other services.
Some 20% of flights are expected to be cancelled today with easyJet confirming 150 of its 1,400 scheduled services would not be operating though some could still be affected by delays.
Those who are travelling have been warned not to go to the airport "without having been guaranteed that their flight is maintained".
Ryanair was forced to cancel more than 200 flights on Tuesday, and is set to cancel more than 250 today.
The airline slammed the strike, calling on the EU Commission "to remove the right to strike from Europe's air traffic controllers, who are once more attempting to blackmail ordinary consumers with strikes".
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) airlines group also condemned the action.
IATA head Tony Tyler said: "Unions bent on stopping progress are putting at risk the hard-earned vacations of millions of travellers, and from the public's perspective, the timing of the strike could even be regarded as malicious.
"In addition to vacationers, businesspeople undertaking important trips and those awaiting urgent shipments will all face hassles and uncertain waits as flights are cancelled, delayed or diverted around a major portion of European airspace."
Twenty-eight easyJet flights were cancelled, while British Airways said eight flights had been affected.
The majority of Air France's flights were unaffected by the strike, with only 10% of short and medium-haul journeys scrapped.
Not all air traffic controllers are striking, but those who have walked out are protesting against what they say is a lack of sufficient funding for a sector they say is in dire need of modernisation.
They want airport fees for airlines to increase by 10%, while companies want them to decrease.