France travel: Urgent warning for passengers with flights this weekend

A French air traffic control strike could ground half of all flights to and from France on Friday.

France’s aviation authority the DGAC has warned of “severe” disruption, askingairlines to halve their schedules ahead of the walkout and urging passengers to delay trips.

The industrial action – which will run from 6am Friday 16 September to 6am on Saturday17 September – could also disrupt European flights that pass over French airspace.

“Flight cancellations and significant delays are to be expected,” the DGAC said in a statement.

“Passengers who can are invited to postpone their trips.”

Why are French air traffic controllers striking?

The French Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien (SNCTA) union – the country’s main union for traffic controllers – called the strike over pay and working conditions.

In a statement, the union said inflation was eroding worker pay, calling for wage increases and more recruitment.

“Between 2029 and 2035, one third of the [air traffic control] workforce is retiring. It is imperative that we anticipate and plan recruitment,” the statement says.

“If not, the consequences will be inevitable in terms of the public service, working conditions and flexibility.”

Will my flight be cancelled?

Air France has said it will contact every passenger individually.

“The company regrets this action, which will have significant consequences for customers,” a spokesperson said.

The DGAC has advised passengers on other airlines to reach out to their carrier for more information.

If your flight is cancelled, you are likely entitled to a full refund or a seat on another flight.

If you are flying over France, your flight may not be impacted – the DGAC is collaborating with Eurocontrol to help airlines avoid French airspace.

If an agreement is not reached after Friday, the Union plans a second strike for September 28-30.

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