The air traffic controllers' strike is causing major delays at several French airports, even closures, and is having knock-on consequences in Europe, according to data available on Monday morning.
The airports of Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées (Hautes-Pyrénées, southwest) and Pau-Pyrénées (Pyrénées-Atlantiques, southwest), as well as Saint-Yan (Saône-et-Loire, east) are deprived of air traffic services and therefore do not function, according to the online dashboard of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC). The director of Pau-Pyrénées airport, Jérôme Le Bris, confirmed that the national strike movement, "followed by the controllers of the control tower", had led to "the diversion of all flights" until 20:00. Other larger-scale facilities are experiencing significant delays in departure or arrival, according to the same source. Departures are on average 95 minutes late at Toulouse-Blagnac, 77 at Lille-Lesquin, 64 at Marseille-Provence, 54 at Lyon-Saint-Exupéry, 46 at Bordeaux-Mérignac, 34 at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle and 28 at Paris-Orly.
Read alsoAir traffic controllers' strike: a quarter of flights cancelled on Monday, November 20 at Paris-Orly and Toulouse
One-fifth to one-quarter of flights suspended at affected airports
Several trade unions are protesting against the recent adoption by Parliament of a bill to oblige air traffic controllers to declare themselves individually striking or not 48 hours in advance. The DGAC had therefore asked airlines to give up between 20% and 25% of their flight schedules at Orly, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Marseille on Monday. It had also warned that the activity of en route centers of air navigation (CRNA), which manage the trajectories of aircraft flying over the territory, would be affected, potentially forcing flights to bypass France. Air France planned to operate Monday "more than 7 out of 10 flights to and from Paris Orly, Toulouse, Marseille, Bordeaux and Nantes," according to a spokesman. Long-haul flights and flights to and from Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle are not affected. On Sunday, Ryanair, Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers, reiterated its call for the European Commission to take "urgent measures to protect overflights and the freedom of movement of EU citizens during the strike by French air traffic controllers".
French Transport Minister Clément Beaune promised to "fully implement this reform". "It will better organise the public service, it is supported by the majority union and no one had the courage to do it. The law will be promulgated in the coming days, it will apply in the coming weeks after a revision of the decree," he added in a statement sent to AFP on Monday.