With foreign airlines cancelling dozens of flights ahead of a nationwide air-traffic control (ATC) strike in France, the biggest French airline claims the vast majority of its flights will be going ahead.
Controllers are stopping work from 7pm today (8 May) to 6am on Friday 10 May.
Eurocontrol, which is coordinating the “mitigation plan”, says that air movements will be restricted, with airlines serving Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Paris Orly told to reduce their schedules on Thursday by 30 per cent.
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Overflights – by aircraft transiting French airspace without landing – are to be cut by 50 per cent on Thursday.
British Airways has cancelled 36 flights linking London with France and other countries due to the restriction on overflights.
Three round-trips to Barcelona and Madrid have been grounded, along with services to Basel, Geneva and Zurich.
BA has posted a furious online statement, saying: “Yet again this will, unfortunately, bring another wave of unnecessary disruption for some customers travelling in Europe.
“Like all airlines, we have had to cancel a number of flights but will be using larger aircraft where possible, on other services to help affected customers.”
EasyJet has cancelled a total of 54 flights, and is warning others will be disrupted. The airline said: “Sixty-five per cent of easyJet flights operate through French air space and may be delayed.
“Although this situation is outside of our control we would like to apologise to any affected passengers for the inconvenience caused.”
Airlines for Europe, the Brussels-based pressure group, berated the start of the strike. It tweeted: “2018 saw a record 30 ATC strike days in Europe, disrupting travel plans for millions and having a costly impact on tourism, the European economy and the environment.
“Europe’s air traffic management system needs urgent reform!”
The departure information for Paris Orly and Charles de Gaulle shows all Air France flights operating normally on Thursday.
The French airline says it will operate all its long-haul flights, but cancel 27 per cent of short-haul departures.
Many of these are regional flights on Air France and its subsidiary, Hop!, with links from Lyon to Biarritz, Bordeaux, Brussels, Caen, Lille, Lorient, Marseille, Metz, Nice, Strasbourg and Toulouse grounded on Thursday.
Four Air France flights between Paris Orly and Pau have been cancelled on Wednesday evening, because Pau is expected to be closed due to no air-traffic control cover.
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