Eurocontrol scrambles for French six-day action

France’s two biggest air traffic controllers’ unions will begin a six-day walkout on Tuesday in protest at budget cuts.

A similar strike last June caused the cancellation of hundreds of flights, with the number of movements through French airspace cut by 50 per cent.

French officials warned passengers to expect severe disruption to journeys between June 24 and 29, and said a minimum of 50 per cent of scheduled flights would be maintained.

In a ballot last week more than 60 per cent of France’s 4,000 air traffic controllers voted in favour of the strike in protest against planned cuts between 2015 and 2019 – part of the European Commission’s Single Sky programme – that they argue will threaten the “necessary performance and modernisation needed to ensure an efficient air navigation service in France”. The strikers insist that an accelerated plan called SES2+ will lead to the liberalisation and a “forced low-cost” ethos in air traffic.

European Network Manager Eurocontrol said the six-day action would be ‘difficult’ for four of the five area control centres in France: LFRR (West), LFBB (Southwest), LFMM (Southeast), LFEE (East).

In addition to the minimum service implemented in LFMN, LFBO and LFML, the airports will be closed for limited hours during the night shift.

A reduction programme by 50 per cent in LFPG/PO/PB and LFLL, LFMN, LFML, LFBO, LFBD and LFRS will be implemented and discussed day by day in a telephone conference held by French authorities. Decisions will be taken and all information about reductions plans will be published.

In addition to the French strike, there is a risk of ATC Belgian strike for the 25 June. More details are expected today.

“In terms of route and airspace availability surrounding France, the Network Manager is making preparations for the use of the Tango routes, optional routes in Canarias, and use of Algerian and Tunisian airspace together with their associated procedures. These will be available in time for the start of the industrial action,” said Eurocontrol.


Posted in Airlines, CAAs/ANSPs, News, Single European Sky

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