The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC) has asked airlines to cancel a third of their flights at Paris-Orly on Tuesday because of the participation of air traffic controllers in a strike against the pension reform, the administration announced Thursday.
These preventive cancellations were also required for one in five flights from or to the airports of Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nantes, said the DGAC in a statement, warning that "disruptions and delays" were likely. The first French airport, Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle, is not concerned.
Cascading effects on all European air traffic
These preventive cancellations are supposed to match traffic and the number of air traffic controllers available, in order to avoid flight cancellations without passengers having been able to be notified. These work stoppages, at the call of unions mobilized against the pension reform promulgated in mid-April, will also affect some en route centres de la navigation aérienne (CRNA), which guide planes flying over the national territory.
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Air traffic control has been one of the sectors of activity that has experienced the most disruption due to the social movement against the reform, nearly 40 days since the beginning of the year, the latest being that of May 1. Given the geographical position of the France, these strikes have cascading effects on all European air traffic, which angers many foreign carriers forced to cancel or delay flights.
The boss of Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, has launched a petition to ask the European Union to sanctuarize overflights of French territory in the event of social movements. This text has obtained more than 1.1 million signatures. For its part, the European air traffic watchdog, Eurocontrol, estimated that 10 million passengers were affected by the strike between March and early April.