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Easter Holidays Start as You Thought They Might with French ATC Strike

French Air Traffic Controllers have once again gone on strike creating chaos and delays at European Airports in time for the first day of Spring and the start of the Easter holiday travel season.

According to data from Flightradar24, the top five airports on Sunday were Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, London Gatwick, Porto, and Lisbon.

 Airport ArrivalsDepartures
1Palma de MallorcaPMI

Average delay 103 minutes

Delayed flights 67%

Canceled flights 22%

Average delay 58 minutes

Delayed flights 60%

Canceled flights 20%


Average delay 46 minutes

Delayed flights 55%

Canceled flights 26%

Average delay 63 minutes

Delayed flights 80%

Canceled flights 10%

3London GatwickLGW

Average delay 57 minutes

Delayed flights 64%

Canceled flights 14%

Average delay 55 minutes

Delayed flights 75%

Canceled flights 0%


Average delay 36 minutes

Delayed flights 36%

Canceled flights 27%

Average delay 60 minutes

Delayed flights 63%

Canceled flights 13%


Average delay 32 minutes

Delayed flights 53%

Canceled flights 0%

Average delay 54 minutes

Delayed flights 83%

Canceled flights 0%

A4E Call to Action

The recently founded Airlines 4 Europe (A4E) airline association had issued a call to action on Friday, requesting a formal plan of response to minimise impact of the strikes on European travellers setting off for their Easter break.

The French air traffic control (ATC) strike between 20-22 March highlights yet again the urgent need for an immediate action plan to minimise strike effects on both local traffic and overflights.–A4E

“Last year, more than 10,000 flights operated by A4E members were affected by 28 days of ATC strikes in Europe causing unnecessary delays and inconvenience for millions of passengers.

“The negative impact of ATC strikes on European Aviation is a key issue for our airlines and their customers. The European Commission must stand up for consumers and promote their rights. We urge all parties involved to develop and agree on an action plan and A4E will take the lead, seeking urgent working sessions with all stakeholders. We just can’t just spoil the Easter holiday break of European travellers,” said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of A4E.

A4E has previously stated that European Air Traffic Management must be improved delivering through the creation of a reliable and efficient airspace through fulfilment of the Single European Sky policy and economic regulation at EU level. The organisation also urges the implementation of new technology to improve ATM efficiency in Europe and “using SESAR funding to drive compliance with the Single Sky framework.”

Ryanair Urges Legal Recourse

Ryanair has previously called for legal action by the European Commission to squelch what it characterises as a historic excess of strikes by French ATC unions. This is the 41st strike by French ATC workers since 2009, Ryanair points out.

Like other airlines in the EU, Ryanair services were disrupted on Sunday due to French ATC strikes, with flight cancellations and delays. The airline expects further cancellations on Monday.

“All affected customers have been contacted by email and SMS text message and advised of their options: a full refund, rebooking on to the next available flight or rebooking onto an alternative route. Those travelling on Monday should check the status of their flight on the website before travelling to the airport and follow @Ryanair on Twitter for updates,” said Robin Kiely, Head of Communications for Ryanair.

On Sunday, the airline repeated its previous calls to action and condemned French ATC unions equating French ATC strikes with holding European consumers for ransom, and urged consumers to sign its Keep Europe’s Skies Open petition calling on the European Commission and European Parliament to protect them “from repeated blackmail and disruption.”

Ryanair says it needs 1 million signatures to present its petition in Brussels.

The airline proposes Europe take two concrete actions to resolve the issues of recurring ATC strikes (quoting):

1 – Removing the right to strike from Europe’s ATC unions, in the same way that Europe’s police and military are not allowed to strike. However, European ATC workers could still join unions, organise and advance their concerns through mediation or binding arbitration, that do not involve strikes or closing skies over Europe.

2 – Allowing other European ATCs to manage flights over French airspace during ATC union strike action.

“We sincerely apologise to all those affected by the unwarranted actions of these French ATC workers who continue to hold European consumers to ransom and we call on the French Government and EU Commission to take action to prevent any further disruptions. It’s grossly unfair that thousands of ordinary European consumers have their travel and holiday plans disrupted by the actions of a selfish few,” Kiely added.

1 thought on “Easter Holidays Start as You Thought They Might with French ATC Strike”

  1. Pingback: French Air Traffic Controllers Pick Worst Conceivable Time to Strike Again – Flight Chic

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