French Air Controllers Stage Strike, Dozens of Flights Cancelled
While plans for a Europe-wide air traffic controllers strike on October 10 were shelved several weeks ago, two French unions which represent 25% of the country’s controllers nonetheless walked off the job on Thursday, causing a reduction in flights to and from France.
As was the case with the threatened European-wide job action, the two French groups, the Union Nationale des Syndicats Autonomes des Ingénieurs du Contrôle de la Navigation Aérienne (UNSA-ICNA) and the Syndicat des Personnels de l’Aviation Civile CFDT (SPACCFDT), were protesting the European Commission’s Single Sky program, saying it could threaten passenger safety.
European airlines cancelled flights to and from French airports including Paris Charles de Gaulle, Paris Orly, Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, and Toulouse, leaving thousands of travelers stranded.
Flights that fly over French airspace were also impacted.
Earlier this year, the European Commission released the Single European Sky II+ package of measures that do away with national monopolies in air-traffic control and call for “application of normal procurement rules to ensure a transparent selection of the provider offering the best cost/benefit ratio” among other changes. The Commission says that the initiative will increase overall capacity, reduce delays, lower emissions, and cut fuel costs, all while saving €5 billion per year without compromising safety
In June, French unions protested the planned reforms with a three-day strike that required airlines to reduce flights by a minimum of 50% across the country.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)