Skip to main content

Flights canceled as French air traffic controllers strike

By Laura Smith-Spark. Ayesha Durgahee and Bharati Naik, CNN
updated 8:17 PM EDT, Wed June 12, 2013
A screen announces canceled flights on June 11, 2013 at Montpellier's airport as air traffic controllers kick off a three-day strike.
A screen announces canceled flights on June 11, 2013 at Montpellier's airport as air traffic controllers kick off a three-day strike.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: European Transport Workers' Federation says plans put cost-cutting ahead of jobs
  • French air traffic controllers strike for second day over plans for single European airspace
  • About half the scheduled flights at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport have been canceled
  • About 2,000 flights across Europe were canceled the first day of the strike

(CNN) -- Thousands of travelers face disruption and canceled flights Wednesday as French air traffic controllers go on strike for a second day over a European Union plan to update rules governing European airspace.

About half the scheduled flights at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport have been canceled because of the strike, the airport said.

There are usually about 600 flights a day from the airport at this time of year, it said. Short and medium-haul flights are those most affected for the 200 airlines that operate out of the airport.

About 2,000 flights across Europe were canceled Tuesday, the first day of the strike, the air traffic agency Eurocontrol said.

The strike has led to the cancellation of 27 flights Wednesday from London's Heathrow Airport -- 14 arriving and 13 departing, the airport said.

Most of the flights were going either to or from Charles De Gaulle, Toulouse and Marseille airports, it said.

EasyJet said 66 flights to or from the United Kingdom had been canceled Wednesday.

"These are largely contained to France and Spain although other destinations may be affected" by the resulting delays, it said in a statement.

Travelers are encouraged to check with EasyJet for updates, particularly if they are flying to or from France, Spain and Portugal.

"EasyJet is contacting customers affected by cancellations, and those passengers will be entitled to a refund or to book an alternative flight," the airline said.

A spokeswoman for Charles de Gaulle Airport said it hopes to return to normal service Thursday when the strike is due to end.

The European Transport Workers' Federation said air traffic workers in 11 European countries were taking action Wednesday to voice their opposition to plans involving a single European airspace.

Air traffic controllers are on strike only in France and Hungary, however, with other action including gatherings and walkouts, said Francois Ballestero, the union's political secretary.

The union's action follows the European Commission's adoption Tuesday of a new package on the "Single European Sky," it said.

It believes the package, known as SES2+, would jeopardize jobs and put cost savings and competitiveness ahead of safety considerations.

The European Commission says EU rules on air traffic management must be updated to boost performance and improve oversight, otherwise predicted increases in air traffic will cause major delays.

It said the new rules would mean lower costs for airlines and more direct routes, which would help keep ticket prices down for travelers, while helping airlines return to profit. Shorter routes and fewer delays would also mean lower greenhouse-gas emissions, it said.

The Single European Sky program was first launched in 2004 to improve coordination between the 27 member states' air traffic authorities and cut delays.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 8:25 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Action needs to be taken immediately before affected states potentially collapse, says campaigner Bob Geldof.
updated 12:29 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Thomas Malthus famously predicted that rising populations would create a food crunch: Could this be true?
updated 6:33 AM EDT, Sat October 18, 2014
From "Sick Man of Europe" to the world's fourth largest economy.
updated 1:06 PM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 7:18 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Australian PM Tony Abbott vows to "shirt-front" Russia's Putin over the MH17 disaster.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Wed October 15, 2014
Serbia and Albania try to play but the major game is called off after a drone flying a political flag enters the stadium.
updated 7:36 AM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
George Clooney's new wife, is now Amal Clooney, raising the issue of married names.
updated 1:57 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
The mysterious unmanned X-37B space plane returns to Earth after more than two years in space. But the U.S. Air force isn't saying much.
updated 12:55 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Public health experts are asking whether the CDC is getting the wrong message out.
updated 11:41 AM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
It's no longer necessary to launch your startup in Silicon Valley -- thanks to the internet, you can do it anywhere.
updated 5:00 AM EDT, Wed October 8, 2014
From a "democracy wall" to a towering "Umbrella man" statue, see the best art from the massive protests in Hong Kong.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT