Lobby group Airlines for Europe estimates thousands of European passengers are likely to have travel plans disrupted today (Tuesday) with more than 100 flight cancellations and many delays.
The warning came as Ryanair was forced to cancel 44 flights in the first week of Euro 2016 due to the latest round of strike action by French air traffic controllers.
British Airways also warned of flight cancellations and other disruption as a result of the ninth day of industrial action in the past three months by air traffic controllers in France.
EasyJet faces additional disruption due to a walkout by pilots based on a dispute over pay and pensions.
A4E managing director, Thomas Reynaert, said: “We are reaching a pathetic milestone: more than 50 ATC strikes in France over the last seven years which account for more than 150 days of disruption.
“Understandably, European passengers and airlines are frustrated as these strikes take place at a very busy time of the year.
“The European Commission and governments must act immediately to protect the rights of millions of European travellers affected by this repeated and disproportionate industrial action.
“It’s not only holidaymakers whose travel plans are in jeopardy, but fans visiting Euro 2016, which is being held in France, are also at risk and face the real prospect of sitting on the tarmac on a delayed flight while holding tickets to see their country playing.”
Ryanair, Europe’s largest budget carrier, claimed the latest action is being planned to directly target Euro 2016, leaving football fans from Europe and beyond “at the mercy of French ATC unions”.
The airline once again called on the European Commission to take action to prevent the skies over Europe being closed. Today’s walk out will be the 50th French strike since 2009, and 10th in the past 12 weeks.
Ryanair advised passengers due to travel to check the status of their flight on the Ryanair.com website before leaving for the airport.
It urged football fans to sign its Keep Europe’s Skies Open petition, which it will present to the European Commission once it attracts 1 million signatures.
Chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “These ongoing strikes by the French ATC unions are being directly aimed not only at families taking a well-deserved summer holiday, but also at the millions of football fans coming to France this summer for the Euros.
“It is shocking that a small group of unionised workers can hold a continent of football fans to ransom, and we regret that once again we have been forced to cancel a number of flights due to the selfish actions of these workers.
“We now urge every disrupted customer, as well as disgruntled football fans, to sign up to Ryanair’s petition, KeepEuropesSkiesOpen.com, and when we gather one million signatures, we will present this petition to the European Commission to force it to finally take necessary action.”
BA said: “Unfortunately we will have to cancel some flights as a result of the strike action and other short-haul flights may also experience some disruption, given how many flights would normally use French airspace each day.
“We will be using larger aircraft, where possible, to help affected customers and are doing all we can to reduce the levels of disruption.
“Please be aware that road and rail transport may also be affected by other industrial action in parts of France this week, so please allow extra time for your journeys to/from the airport.”
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