Hundreds of flights to and from France have been cancelled as air traffic controllers begin industrial action
Ryanair cancelled 250 flights today, affecting scores of passengers flying from London Stansted, while departure and arrivals boards at Heathrow suggested most European flights were either delayed or cancelled, affecting tens of thousands of passengers during the Easter break. Easyjet has been forced to cancel 118 flights.
Among the destinations on Ryanair’s cancelled list are Alicante and Malaga in Spain and flights to Morocco. Moroccan accommodation and tour organisers say the effect will be costly, with some passengers unable to arrive and others unable to leave.
The SNCTA union - France's largest - called the two-day strike in a dispute over working conditions. Later on Wednesday, the DGAC civil aviation authority asked airlines to halve scheduled flights on Thursday. Short-haul flights have been the worst affected but France's largest airline, Air France, said long-haul flights were still operating.
Travellers have been advised to contact their airline.
France's civil aviation agency said part of the dispute involves plans to raise the retirement age for controllers from 57 to 59 years.
Further strikes are planned for 16 to 18 April and 29 April to 2 May, coinciding with spring school holidays in France.
Low-cost airline Ryanair says it has had to cancel more than 250 flights, with further cancellations likely, while competitor Easyjet has been forced to cancel 118 flights.
Travellers booked on short and medium-haul Air France flights on Wednesday or Thursday can choose to travel between 10 and 15 April instead, it said.