Hundreds of flights cancelled as French ATC walk out

Hundreds of flights have been cancelled on Tuesday as French air-traffic controllers continue strikes.

The USAC-CGT union announced its members would strike from Monday evening until Wednesday morning “for the defence of public service,” adding: “We must resist the erosion of human rights.”

Airlines serving Paris Orly, Lyon and Marseille airports have already been told to cut one in five flights, with other airlines flying through French airspace also deeply affected.

Ryanair made dozens of cancellations on Sunday evening once it became clear that the strikes were going ahead, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

The airline said: “Due to yet another French ATC strike, Ryanair regrets to inform customers that it has been forced to cancel a number of flights on Tuesday 22 May.

All affected customers have been contacted by email and text message and advised of their options: a full refund, rebooking on to the next available flight or free transfer to an alternative flight.

Due to this unjustified ATC strike action, we also expect delays to flights to/from/over France and we advise customers due to travel on Tuesday to check the status of their flight on the website.”

British Airways has cancelled at least 36 flights on Tuesday, connecting London with France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy.

Barcelona is worst affected, with three round-trips from Heathrow cancelled. Two return journeys to each of Madrid, Marseille, Paris CDG, and Geneva have also been cancelled.

The airline said: “We are unfortunately expecting a day of industrial action by air traffic controllers, as part of wider general strikes in France on Tuesday 22 May. We will be using larger aircraft, where possible, to help affected customers, and are doing all we can to reduce the levels of disruption.”

BA has promised passengers who bought a BA ticket before 18 May to or from any French airport as well as Barcelona and Madrid on a British Airways-operated flight on Tuesday 22 May can switch to Monday, Wednesday or Thursday, “regardless of whether their flight is operating or not”.