France Braces for Massive ATC Strike

 - December 4, 2019, 2:38 PM

French air traffic controllers planned to strike starting on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Paris time until Sunday at 6 a.m. as part of a nationwide walkout over government pension reforms. The strike involves several employment sectors, including airport ground handlers, government workers, teachers, postal workers, hospital staff, firefighters, and truck drivers.

French civil aviation agency DGAC has asked airlines to cut flights scheduled on Thursday by 20 percent to Beauvais, Paris Charles De Gaulle, Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, and Bordeaux.

According to flight operations information service Ops Group, Eurocontrol managers on Tuesday warned of application of en route regulations across all sectors, suggesting widespread delays throughout France’s ATC system. In terms of airports, Ops Group expects the most severe delays to occur at the area control center (ACC) level rather than the local level. However, Paris Charles de Gaulle will see airport firefighters strike from 7 a.m. to noon, resulting in the availability of just one runway.

Elsewhere, OpsGroup said to expect severe delays at Toulouse and Bordeaux all three days. It also warned of possible closures, especially at night, at smaller airports such as Pau, Tarbes, Biarritz, Cannes, Rouen, and Lille.  

Algeria and Tunisia have both said airlines needing to reroute around France can operate in their airspace without the need to obtain overflight permits.