The same day the U.S. narrowly avoided a railroad strike, French air traffic controllers walked off the job this morning for a 24-hour long strike, leaving passengers stranded and flights canceled in their wake on Friday.
It’s a good lesson in how even a little bit of worker disruption can have lasting impacts. Members of the Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien, or SNCTA, began their strike at 6 a.m. local time on Friday morning. Negotiations have dragged on for months as the SNCTA and and French government are at an impasse regarding pay.
The effects of just a single day without air traffic controllers are expected to ripple through Europe throughout the weekend and into Monday, CNN reports:
Paris Aéroport, which owns and manages 14 civil airports and airfields in the Île-de-France (Paris) area, warned on Thursday to expect “significant” delays and cancellations on arrivals and departures.
Many flights passing over French airspace were also affected. Barcelona Airport’s departure board showed more than 50 flights delayed or canceled after noon Friday. In Germany, Hamburg Airport said 48 out of the day’s 251 flights had been canceled by midday local time and further delays and cancellations were possible.
Earlier in the week, France’s Directorate General for Civil Aviation warned that up to 50% of the country’s flights could be affected and urged passengers to contact airlines and postpone travel.
The French version of the Federal Aviation Administration, the Directorate General for Civil Aviation, did its best to prepare for the strike, but the country’s airports have ground to a halt. Europe’s largest airline, Ryan Air, cancelled 420 flights Friday morning. EasyJet, Air France and others will also be affected, Simply Flying reports. SNCTA is already planning for another 24-hour strike later this month.