French ATC strikes force May Day flight cancellations

Departures board at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport with flight cancellations.
Joi Ito from Inbamura, Japan, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A strike by French air traffic controllers is causing flight cancellations and disruptions at some French airports as well as affecting some overflights today, May 1.

The French civil aviation regulator Direction générale de l’aviation civile (DGAC) has identified potential disruptions to arriving and departing traffic at Paris Orly and Charles de Gaulle airport, as well as Lyon Bordeaux, Nantes, Toulouse and Nice.

Latest round of ATC strikes

The DGAC has advised that the latest round of ATC strikes will be in effect from 6 PM on Sunday, April 30, extending through until 6 AM on Tuesday, May 2.

As a result, the French civil aviation authority put out a request to airlines to reduce their flight scheduling at certain French airports on May 1.

The DGAC has requested airlines cancelled 33% of scheduled flights operated at Paris Orly airport, as well as Marseille, Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Nantes airports. It has asked for a 25% reduction at Paris Charles de Gaulle, Beauvais and Nice.


Low-cost carrier Ryanair has made repeated appeals to the EU commission over the past months, calling for the protection of passengers and airlines operating in French airspace affected by the continuing ATC strikes.

Ryanair issued a statement last month warning of flight cancellations and delays 1 April to 1 May.


In their latest announcement over the weekend, CEO Michael O’Leary advised that the airline will be forced to cancel another 220 flights today as a result of the May Day chaos, saying:

”We’ve been notified by the French Aviation Authorities of the 51st day of striking, on Monday May 1st, and that we must cancel another 220 flights, impacting 40,000 passengers..this is unacceptable”

Five weeks ago, Ryanair launched a petition over the ongoing ATC strikes in France. It has now surpassed over 600,000 signatures. The airline has said that once the petition hits one million signatures, it will submit it to the EU Commission.


A Ryanair jet waits for an easyJet aircraft to land.
North West Transport Photos, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

UK low-cost airline easyJet also issued a statement over the weekend warning of expected cancellations and disruptions due French ATC strikes on May 1 saying:

“We have been advised of a National Strike in France starting 06:00 local time on Monday 1st May to 00:00 Tuesday 2nd May.”

“Air Traffic Control staff are joining the strike action and therefore like all airlines, we have been requested by the French authorities DGAC to make some cancellations to our flying program to and from several French airports on 1st May.”

“We expect that there will be delays and some disruption due to the industrial action, therefore we advise all customers to check the status of their flight on our Flight Tracker either on our mobile app or website.”

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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