This Thursday, Ryanair asked the European Union to take immediate action to protect overflights of French airspace. Why ? Because this Friday, September 16, the French air traffic control (ATC) has decided to be on total strike.
“Ryanair regrets being forced to cancel 420 flights (or 80,000 passengers) flying mainly over France on Friday September 16, due to this unjustified strike by French air traffic control, which only disrupts the travel plans of thousands of European citizens and visitors for the weekend”, says the Irish low cost company in a press release. Passengers departing from Charleroi and having to fly over French airspace are therefore concerned.
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“The European Union must intervene and protect overflights so that passengers traveling between Spain, Italy, Ireland, Germany, and other destinations are not affected by these disruptions simply because they fly over France while the French air traffic controllers’ unions go on strike”she says.
The company also advances three ways to mitigate the impact of these strikes: “One, require French ATC unions to engage in mandatory arbitration instead of strike action. Two, protect French overflights (under minimum service laws). Three, allow other ATCs in Europe to manage the overflights of France while the French ATC unions go on strike”. A response from the European side would be amazing in the time available but Ryanair is certainly trying to put pressure to break this strike or mitigate its effects.
“It is inexcusable that passengers who do not even have a flight to/from France are disturbed because they fly over French airspace, when French laws protect French domestic flights. It is time for the EU intervenes and protects overflights so that European passengers are not constantly held hostage by a tiny French air traffic control union”commented Neal McMahon, director of operations of Ryanair.