French air traffic controllers to strike

<p>Hundreds of flights have been cancelled.</p>

French air traffic controllers are on strike today (April 8th) causing major disruption to flights in and out of France.

Members of the SNCTA union have launched industrial action for the next two days over a dispute about working conditions. France's largest union is particularly aggrieved by the DGAC civil aviation authority's decision to raise the retirement age for air traffic controllers by two years to 59.

It added that further action is planned between April 16th and 18th and April 29th and May 2nd.

Hundreds of flights have already been cancelled ahead of the strike with the DGAC asking airlines to cut their schedules for flights to and from France on Wednesday by 40 per cent. Images from Flightradar24 revealed that many flights over mainland Europe have been purposely avoiding French airspace to prevent any issues.

Budget airline Ryanair slammed the strike and said in a statement: "We sincerely apologise to all customers affected by this unwarranted strike action and we call on the EU and French authorities to take measures to prevent any further disruption.

"It's grossly unfair that thousands of European travellers will once again have their travel plans disrupted by the selfish actions of a tiny number of French ATC [air traffic control] workers."

France's aviation strikes

France has been affected by aviation disruption at various points over the past 12 months. Airline Air France-KLM was hit hard by a pilots' strike in late 2014, causing the company to speed up cost cutting measures and reduce investment. It also announced a drop in full-year profits.

In February, the airline conglomerate said that earnings fell by €266 million (£172 million) to €1.598 billion. Revenue was down 2.4 per cent to €24.91 billion despite a 1.3 per cent increase in passenger numbers. It saw the company reduce investment by €300 million a year in 2015 and 2016.

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