France Faces Mass Cancellations of Flights Despite Air Traffic Controller Union Call Off Strike

Wed Apr 24 2024
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PARIS: French authorities have canceled hundreds of flights at the country’s airports for Thursday, despite the main air traffic controllers’ union retracting a one-day strike call following negotiations for increased wages.

Paris, in particular, faces significant disruptions, with approximately 75 percent of flights at Orly and 55 percent at Charles de Gaulle airports being grounded, as per a notification from the DGAC civil aviation authority shared with airlines and seen by AFP.

Marseille airport is expected to experience around a 65 percent reduction in services, while elsewhere in France, approximately 45 percent of flights will be affected, resulting in a nationwide impact similar to the initial strike plans.

The SNCTA union, which had initially called for the strike, withdrew its decision after reaching an agreement with the DGAC on higher pay and other provisions, triggered by proposed changes to French air traffic control systems. However, neither party disclosed the specifics of the reported deal, and it remained uncertain whether the two smaller unions that supported the strike would also abandon their plans.

The strike threat, initially spurred by failed negotiations, raised concerns over potential disruptions during the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, scheduled for late July, when a surge of visitors is expected.

The DGAC urged airlines to preemptively cancel most Thursday flights, and the main air traffic controllers’ union had warned of the possibility of extended strike action over the busy May holiday weekend if their demands remained unmet.


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