Half Of Flights Cancelled At Some French Airports As Air Traffic Controllers Go On Strike

Paris-Orly and Brest airports will be particularly hard hit as airport workers walk out on Monday.

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France is bracing for airport chaos on Monday as air traffic controllers go on strike.

Up to half of all flights at some airports will be cancelled as a preventative measure.

Disruption and delays are expected for passengers travelling between the evening of 17 December and 6am on 19 December.

French civil aviation authority DGAC has asked passengers to postpone their trips if possible. They advise anyone with a flight booked during the strike to contact their airline before travelling to the airport.

Which airports will be hit by strikes in France?

The strike will involve air traffic control workers from the CRNA Nord tower, which manages airspace in the north of France.

Paris-Orly, Lyon, Lille, Brest, Rouen, Poitiers and Saint-Yan airports could be impacted. Other airports, including Paris Charles de Gaulle, are not expected to face cancellations.

Paris-Orly will be particularly hard hit, with DGAC ordering 30 per cent of flights to be cancelled to limit disruption on the day. At Brittany's Brest airport, airlines have been asked to reduce their flights by 50 per cent. They have been left to decide which flights to cancel.

Minimum service provisions which aim to reduce disruption to passengers' journeys, will be applied where regulations allow, says DGAC - including in Paris-Orly, Poitiers and Lyon. 

The strike could also cause delays for overflights to ad from other countries that use French airspace.

Why are French air traffic controllers going on strike?

Air traffic controllers are protesting new rules that require workers to give their managers 48 hours' notice if they plan to join strike action.

The law aims to reduce disruption to travellers during industrial action. But air traffic controllers say it infringes on their right to strike.

The notice period gives employers time to draw up temporary timetables based on the number of staff who will be available. It also allows DGAC to manage the situation more effectively and minimise cancellations.

The legislation does not limit air traffic controllers’ rights to undertake industrial action or guarantee a minimum number of flights during strike hours.

Ongoing strike action in the future is possible if the dispute is not resolved. It is unclear whether an ‘Olympic truce’ - announced by union SNCTA before the new law came into force - will still stand.

At Paris-Orly, workers have an additional reason behind their industrial action. In October, Air France announced it would stop using the airport as its domestic hub by summer 2026 due to falling passenger numbers.

The airline will move its operations to Paris-Charles de Gaulle in Roissy, where it says workers will be offered equivalent positions. But many at Paris-Orly and regional airports like Marseille, Toulouse and Nice fear their jobs will be axed.

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