Hundreds of European flights hit by air traffic control strike

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(CNN) – Hundreds of flights have been canceled and thousands of passengers have been forced to change plans as French air traffic controllers took industrial crackdown on pay Friday.

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Europe’s largest airline Ryanair has canceled 420 flights across Europe as the 24-hour strike affected connections to airports around the continent. Rival budget carrier EasyJet was warning of serious delays and disruptions.

Members of France’s Syndicate National des Contrellers du Trafic érienne, or SNCTA, the main association for traffic controllers in the country, began to strike at 6 a.m. Central European Time (00:00 a.m. ET) on Friday. The strike is likely to continue till Monday.


The union said it was calling for action after talks with the government on wage hike in line with inflation stalled.

It said in a statement, “After several months of negotiations to obtain an unbiased and customized response, SNCTA … regrets the lack of substantive elements and guarantees from public authorities.”

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French aviation officials warned that 50% of flights could be affected by the strike.

Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News/Corbis/Getty Images

Paris Aeroport, which owns and manages 14 civilian airports and airfields in the le-de-France (Paris) region, warned on Thursday to expect “significant” delays and cancellations on arrivals and departures.

Several flights passing through French airspace were also affected. The departure board of Barcelona airport showed delays or cancellations of more than 50 flights after Friday afternoon. In Germany, Hamburg Airport said 48 of the day’s 251 flights had been canceled by noon local time and that further delays and cancellations were possible.

Earlier in the week, France’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation warned that up to 50% of the country’s flights could be affected and urged passengers to contact airlines and suspend travel.

The SNCTA has said that the strike on September 28 may go ahead.

Disruptions were also expected on Monday as London’s Heathrow Airport said some flights would be canceled or delayed to keep the airspace quiet during events to mark the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

CNN’s Arnaud Siad and Peter Taggart contributed to this story.

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