French strikes: Ryanair warns of ‘summer of discontent’

French air traffic control unions have announced further strikes on the bank holiday weekend of June 3rd, 4th and 5th. They are calling for better pay and conditions.

The latest action by air traffic controllers in France –  due to end at 4am on Friday – has disrupted some flights travelling to France and many flying to other destinations through French airspace. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The latest action by air traffic controllers in France – due to end at 4am on Friday – has disrupted some flights travelling to France and many flying to other destinations through French airspace. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

 

Flights to France are expected to return to normal on Friday with the cessation for now of a strike by air traffic controllers, but passengers have been told to expect further disruption next weekend.

Ryanair has warned of a “summer of discontent” for holidaymakers, especially Irish soccer fans planning on travelling to the country for Euro 2016 next month.

The latest action by air traffic controllers in France – which was due to end at 4am on Friday – has disrupted some flights travelling to and from that country and many flying to other destinations through French airspace.

“It’s deliberate and it’s incredibly unfair on all of those who have booked their holidays and tickets,” said a spokesman for Ryanair, which on Thursday cancelled 76 flights, 36 of which had no departure or arrival point in France.

Aer Lingus cancelled 10 flights involving destinations including Lyon, Perpignan, Marseilles, Barcelona and Alicante, affecting about 1,600 passengers. The airline’s chief executive, Stephen Kavanagh, reiterated a call for “for intervention by European and French authorities to prevent such harm”.

French air traffic control unions have announced further strikes on the bank holiday weekend of June 3rd, 4th and 5th. Thursday’s strike is the latest in a series by the controllers, who are calling for better pay and conditions.

Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the company had more than 200,000 signatures in an online petition to get the EU to introduce measures to stop them going on strike.

“It will be a much bigger deal next week when there are three days of strikes planned,” he said. “The countries most impacted are Ireland, the UK, Italy and Spain and it’s just been going on too long.”