An increased number of European flights were grounded yesterday in the second day of a strike by French air traffic controllers.

More than 430 flights were cancelled, bringing the total to over 800 since the five-day industrial action started on Monday.

Further cancellations are expected today when controllers in Brest, Bordeaux and Marseille sector will be still on strike, lobby group Airlines for Europe (A4E) warned.

Ryanair has been forced to cancel 66 flights today, including services from Stansted and Luton, while Air France warned that its flight schedule would be disrupted all week with only 78% of domestic services expected to run today.

Flybe confirmed that six Paris flights would be grounded today from Southampton, Manchester and London City airport together with a service from the French capital to Exeter.

Other airlines affected include British Airways and easyJet.

Carriers have also faced severe delays and detours, including a flight from London to Nice which had to fly along the Rhine valley in Germany and a service from Oslo to Malaga which had to divert via Ireland.

Spain was worst affected country after France, followed by the UK, Italy, Ireland and Germany.