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http://www.freelancedirectory.org/?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation, keynote presentations and workshops for corporate organisations on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. He operated at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book. Journalist and Broadcaster. After-dinner speaker and presenter.

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Monday, 21 March 2016

LATEST IN A SERIES OF FRENCH AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL STRIKES KICKS OFF; WIDESPREAD KNOCK ON DISRUPTION EXPECTED...


Julian Bray Aviation Analyst & Broadcaster writes:  In answer to the dozens of telephone callers questioning why we have not flagged up the latest French Air Traffic controllers strike, the 41st strike since 2009.  We did and gave several months warning of the next  SERIES of strikes planned by French air traffic controllers this Spring and Summer. The industrial action is over a very long running dispute on pay, conditions and lack of investment, which seems to have no possibility of any form of meaningful resolution in sight.  This is part of what we said at the time : 

http://julianbrayrecessionbuster07944217476.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=French+air+traffic+control

Our general advice is if at all possible is to simply avoid French air space, ask your travel agent to reroute your party using alternative airport hubs (possibly Amsterdam /Frankfurt).  The strikes are designed to coincide with major British holiday periods, to cause maximum international disruption,  and certainly Easter air traffic is already affected.

Thousands of air passengers flying on British Airways and EasyJet  are facing flight cancellations during the next three days due to industrial action being carried out by French traffic control employees. The disruption will not end then as some aircraft will be wrongly positioned for scheduled flights after the current  'official' strike period  by French air traffic controllers ends.

Ryanair have said that flights are affected, the Irish airline said that the industrial action was the 41st strike since 2009 and once again has called on the French Government and European Commission to take action.
 
Ryanair added that it was “forced to cancel a number of flights on Sunday, with further flights cancelled on Monday”.
 
Passengers travelling from Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton Airport to French destinations will experience lengthy delays and/or cancellations as a result of the strikes.
 
Gatwick is reporting delays averaging 50 minutes, but advised all passengers to ring their airlines, not the airport, for updates. Airport operators have not relaxed car drop off and taxi parking rules and charges, so will enjoy an unexpected revenue windfall due to the French industrial action. 
 
A spokesman for easyJet confirmed that 82 flights have already been cancelled or rerouted as a result of the strikes - including 32 scheduled to take off or land at British airports.
 
'We have been pro-actively informing affected customers, so they have the opportunity to reorganise their journeys.
 
'Affected customers can change their flight free of charge or receive a refund. 
 
'We advise customers to make any amendments to their booking on the Manage my Bookings area of www.easyJet.com.
 
'As well as affecting flights to and from France, the strike action is causing delays to other flights which use French airspace.##
'We recommend that all customers travelling on Sunday 20 and Monday 21 March 2016 check the status of their flight on our Flight Tracker page.'
 
'Although this is outside of our control we would like to apologise to all our customers for any inconvenience and would like to reassure them we are doing all possible to minimise any disruption as a result of the industrial action'
 
British Airways declined to disclose how many flights would be affected by the strikes, but said it was doing 'all we can to minimise disruption to customers affected.'
 
The Spanish headquartered airline added that larger aircraft were now being used and in addition a programme or re-routing flights is underway.  

This latest series in a long running campaign of industrial action has been called by UNSA-ICNA, the French union for air traffic controllers, which has said cuts are unrealistic due to the "operational needs of control centres".
Ryanair said it condemned the "selfish action" by the French aviation unions and repeated its demand that the European Commission ban air traffic controllers from striking to prevent passengers being "held to ransom."

Robin Kiely, Ryanair director, said: "It's grossly unfair that thousands of ordinary European consumers have their travel and holiday plans disrupted by the actions of a selfish few."
The airline said the strike was not only affecting travellers going to and from France, but also those flying through French air space to reach distant destinations.

Ryanair  are asking other air traffic controllers in Europe to be allowed to manage flights over French airspace during such action; the airline's flights to other parts of Europe such as Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal have been cancelled, or diverted due to the strike.

Ryanair  also urged consumers to sign its "Keep Europe's Skies Open" petition to the European Commission.

When it has obtained 1m signatures it said it planned to present it to the EU Commission and the EU parliament.

Air passengers intending to travel from Londons' Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton Airports are being delayed pending reschedule of flight plans affected by the action which started on Sunday.

The DGAC, France's Civil Aviation Authority, requested a third of flights were cancelled to and from Paris-Orly and other regional airports on Monday.



Source: CAA, AOP, PA, AFP, BBC, FRANCE24, CNS

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581 Aviation Expert, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 www.aviationcomment.com
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