September 30, 2022
French ATC Strike Disrupts European Air Travel
Airlines Industry

French ATC Strike Disrupts European Air Travel

DALLAS – Today, almost 1,000 flights to/from France were canceled due to a strike by the nation’s air traffic controllers, causing delays throughout European airspace.

According to France’s civil aviation authority (DGAC), 16 airports were running a minimal service, and traffic control centers were directing aircraft that were flying high above French territory. The DGAC issued a warning about cancellations and major delays across the country, but numerous regional airports were shut down.

Few cancellations were noted on departures boards at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), where morning flights were generally proceeding as normal and personnel wearing high-visibility vests were guiding passengers.

Ryanair Malta – 9H-QTC – Boeing 737-800. Photo: Julian Schöpfer/Airways

European Travel


Eurocontrol, the European air traffic control agency, reported severe disruption, with delays totaling more than 500,000 minutes as of 8:30 am (0630 GMT), more than three times what it was on last Friday as a whole when air traffic was flowing regularly.

According to the agency, the strike was mostly to blame for the average 25-minute delays for each aircraft. Today. just about 21,000 aircraft are anticipated to fly across the airspace under the control of Eurocontrol. According to the DGAC, it is collaborating with Eurocontrol to redirect aircraft away from French airspace.

Air France (AF) cut back on about half of its 800 planned flights for today, and Ryanair (FR), the biggest airline in Europe, announced the cancellation of 420 flights that were scheduled to fly over or land in France.

Strikes by French ATC cause over a third of air traffic-related flight delays in Europe each year, at a cost of about €300m (£263m) to airlines. F-GSQX Air France Boeing 777-300ER. Phot: Tony Bordelais/Airways

Reason for Strike


The SNCTA air traffic controllers’ union expressed concern on behalf of its members about remuneration that is not keeping pace with the rate of inflation. According to a parliamentary report, air traffic controllers earn an average of €5,000 (US$4,985) each month, ranking them among the best-paid civil officials in France.

The union also cautions that insufficient recruitment could result in holes in the ranks of the profession. Between 2029 and 2035, one-third of the current air traffic controller workforce is anticipated to retire, and it takes at least five years to train new ones.

According to the SNCTA, extra financing is required for increased training capacity because there is a significant wait for new recruits.

The ATC union has given a warning that it will strike again from September 28 to 30.


Featured image: Charles de Gaulle Airport Photo: CDG Facebook

Chief Online Editor
Chief Online Editor at Airways Magazine, AVSEC interpreter and visual artist; grammar geek, an avid fan of aviation, motorcycles, sci-fi literature, and film.

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