Strikes set to cause French flight cancellations on Friday

 Thursday, September 15, 2022 


French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) has requested airlines to halve their flight schedules on Friday, September 16, due to a planned strike by air traffic controllers.

The DGAC said that despite the preventive measures, travelers can expect “flight cancellations and significant delays” everywhere in France.

A future strike

On Tuesday, the DGAC said it had asked airlines to reduce their flight schedules by half this next Friday due to a planned strike by air traffic controllers and their union, the Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien (SNCTA).

They are looking for a salary increase.

The cuts will impact the whole of France, and the DGAC is currently working with Eurocontrol (the European air travel regulator) to help airlines avoid the country’s airspace.

Air France, easyJet, Transavia, Ryanair, and Volotea are expected to have the most impact. Together they operate around 64% of all flights scheduled to depart France on Friday.

There are about 1,852 departing flights scheduled, according to a report.

French air navigation services manage one of the largest and most dense areas of airspace in Europe. They control more than three million flights, 60% of which are overflights, according to a report released by the French government in 2019.

To cope with the strike, the DGAC has implemented a minimum service, and it is preventively reducing the traffic.

Nonetheless, the Civil Aviation Authority expects significant flight cancellations and delays throughout the country and has invited passengers who can to postpone their trip and to inquire with their airline to know the status of their flight.

Impact throughout Europe

A strike by the air traffic controllers in France will have an impact throughout Europe.

According to reports from local media outlets, the DGAC is working with the European network manager (Eurocontrol) to propose to airlines measures to bypass the national airspace.

The French airspace extends over 14 million squared kilometers across mainland France, the Mediterranean, Atlantic, and French overseas territories.

DSNA, the French State air navigation service provider, controlled 3.2 million flights in 2018, an average of 8,800 flights per day, with peaks of up to 11,000 flights.

Enroute services are coordinated through five Area Control Centers (ACCs) located in Brest, Athis-Mons (or Paris ACC), Reims, Bordeaux, and Aix-en-Provence (or Marseille ACC).

Summer chaos

Strikes have created chaos all over the aviation industry this summer, particularly in Europe.

There have been ground and cabin personnel industry actions in countries like Spain (for instance, strikes at Iberia Express), baggage handler strikes, staffing crises, and more.

This has led airlines to scrap thousands of flights this summer, and certain European cities such as London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt were hit the most by these issues.

In the case of SNCTA, the French union is negotiating topics such as recruitment and the increase in wages to address the increasing inflation worldwide.

However, according to the Union, there has been no response from the DGAC and the public authorities, and this can only be understood as a provocation to our profession.

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