Air Traffic Control Strike Affecting Traffic In And Out Of France


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Air Traffic Control Strike Affecting Traffic In And Out Of France

By Bill Goldston

September 24, 2010 - Nine employee unions representing French air traffic controllers continue to be on strike after the unions called for a one day strike (September 23) across the country in protest over the countries pension reform. France’s civil aviation authority has asked all French air carriers to reduce their flights from 40 to 50 percent.   

France’s striking air traffic controllers will begin their strike at 5 PM and it will end at 5 AM local time Friday. The strike action is expected to have a major impact on flight travel in and out of French air space.  As France is centrally located in Europe, this will affect flights not only to and from France, but also those operating through or near French airspace.  

Air France has reported it will continue to operate all of its long-haul flights. However the airline will reduce its short-haul travel. Ryanair has cancelled a number of flights crossing French airspace. 

This strike is not just about air traffic controllers, it is about all workers in the country of France. Hundreds of unions are protesting reforms that would raise the country’s state pension age for all workers in France from 60 to 62 by 2018.

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy speaks during the Millennium Development Goals Summit at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 20, 2010


France’s labor unions are hoping that their members will take to the streets in protest and will exceed September 7th showing of over 2.5 million demonstrators. More than 200 demonstrations are planned for throughout the country.

On September 7th French labor unions took to the streets in unprecedented numbers to protest against the nation’s retirement reform. More than 2.5 million people participated in the strike across the country to express their refusal of the pension reform plan.  

President Nicolas Sarkozy has indicated despite protest he will move forward with the overhaul of the country’s pension plan reform of raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 and also raise the age at which people are entitled to a full pension from 65 to 67 in an effort to create needed revenue to finance pensions and alleviate public spending.
Airport terminals in France are deserted  

The air traffic control strike has brought air travel to a virtual standstill, some provincial terminals did not open at all. The 24 hour strike has ground 90 percent of air travel and is expected to last until Tuesday morning. British Airways reported it had cancelled nearly 90% of its flights to France and has had to re-rout other flights around France’s air space.

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