Airlines braced for flight disruption next week as strike action by French air traffic controllers looms

 
Rebecca Smith
The new strike by French air traffic controllers is due to start on Monday 6 March
The new strike by French air traffic controllers is due to start on Monday 6 March (Source: Getty)

Airlines are braced for flight disruption next week as French air traffic controllers gear up for five days of strike action.

Airport workers are planning to walk out from the morning of Monday 6 March to the evening of Friday 10 March, which will affect flights using southern and western French airspace, including many flights departing from the UK for the likes of Spain and Portugal too.

An EasyJet spokesperson said: “Like all airlines, our flights to and from French airports, as well as those flying in French airspace, might be affected. Should strike action go ahead EasyJet will advise affected customers of any flight changes via e-mail and SMS."

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The low-budget airline is also recommending customers planning to fly to or from France on the affected dates to check the status of their flight on EasyJet's flight tracker prior to travelling.

“Although this is outside of our control we would like to apologise to all our customers for any inconvenience and would like to assure our passengers that we are doing all possible to minimise any disruption as a result of the industrial action," they added.

Monarch said there may well be disruption, but "we plan to operate a full schedule and would like to advise customers to check-in online where they can, or arrive at the airport in plenty of time to check your flights".

Flybe also said travellers to check its live flight information, apologising for any inconvenience that arises from circumstances "that are entirely beyond our control".

A British Airways spokesperson said the airline was currently awaiting more information from the French authorities, before providing any update to its schedules.

The airline is facing strike action of its own at the moment as an ongoing row over pay has led to Unite members of its Mixed Fleet crew staging a week-long walkout, from today.

Read more: British Airways cabin crew start fresh week-long walkout over "poverty pay"

BA has said it will still manage to fly all passengers to their destinations, despite the action.

Last year, a long-running dispute between the government and a range of air traffic control unions over staffing and pay led to bouts of strike action over the year. The summer was hugely disrupted, with a raft of flights being cancelled.

Tjitze Noorderhaven, UK Manager of flight compensation firm EUclaim, said: "There is no sugar-coating it. Next week, we're set for travel misery. If the French unions follow the strike patterns of 2014/15/16, we are also likely to see further action in May and June, spoiling summer holidays."

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