Ryanair cancels 400 flights throughout Europe amid air traffic controller strike 


French air traffic controller strikes are wrecking the plans of British holidaymakers after Ryanair cancelled 400 flights throughout Europe.

Staff walkouts have forced hundreds of flights to be grounded, sparking complaints from passengers about four-hour delays and being stuck on planes with dwindling food supplies and ‘just crisps and fizzy pop’ for sustenance. 

One mother told MailOnline her 19-year-old disabled son’s flight cancellation on Sunday left him and his friend stranded in Paris yesterday, having to wait until Thursday for a flight home. The teenager had only brought enough medication and hearing aids for the long weekend, mother Haleh Paul said.

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary expressed frustration that overflights across Europe are being cancelled, rather than French domestic flights. 

He said: ‘It’s absolutely indefensible that flights going from Ireland to Italy, from Poland to Portugal, or from Spain to Germany are being cancelled simply because the French want to prioritise their domestic flights and cancel all the overflights.’

Air traffic controllers are needed to make contact during overflights, where planes are flying through the French airspace. Airline EasyJet also saw cancellations and delays.

STRANDED ABROAD? IS YOUR HOLIDAY RUINED? Send your holiday hell story and pictures to hannah.mcdonald@mailonline.co.uk 

A passenger ended up stuck on a Ryanair plane, writing on Twitter they said: 'Flight FR7045 dep 7.55am from Malaga to Dublin delayed 1hr30mins due to #Frenchairtraffic strikes but glad to be on home soil @Ryanair, thanks for not cancelling my flight'

A passenger ended up stuck on a Ryanair plane, writing on Twitter they said: ‘Flight FR7045 dep 7.55am from Malaga to Dublin delayed 1hr30mins due to #Frenchairtraffic strikes but glad to be on home soil @Ryanair, thanks for not cancelling my flight’

Staff walkouts in France have forced hundreds of flights to be grounded, the budget airline said

Staff walkouts in France have forced hundreds of flights to be grounded, the budget airline said 

It was not just Ryanair that faced issues, as EasyJet flights were cancelled and passengers were stranded in Nice last night

It was not just Ryanair that faced issues, as EasyJet flights were cancelled and passengers were stranded in Nice last night

Passengers affected by the cancellations and delays voiced their frustrations on Twitter. 

One user wrote: ‘Very confused, sat on flight FR455 FEU-NCL with delays due to French air strike. Already delayed by two hours but being told we’re now going to be sat not moving for a further two hours?

‘Why put us on the plane? Please communicate what the situation is. @Ryanair also doesn’t help the situation when two thirds of the refreshments are out of stock. Not hot food etc? Just crisps and fizzy pop.’

Another delayed passenger wrote: ‘Flight FR7045 dep 7.55am from Malaga to Dublin delayed 1hr30mins due to #Frenchairtraffic strikes but glad to be on home soil @Ryanair, thanks for not cancelling my flight.’

Haleh Paul, the mother of the 19-year-old disabled teenager, said: ‘I and the other set of the family had to scramble around from the UK to change their flight and find alternative accommodation for them. 

‘I am sure I am not the only one in this boat. But when you plan for a long weekend as a young adult and it ends up being a week, with no extra medication, hearing aid batteries or change of clothes, it’s very worrying.’

However not everyone saw it as bad, with David Wilson posting a selfie on social media writing: ‘Just got a message from Ryanair… my flight home on Tuesday has been cancelled due to air traffic control strikes in France so we can’t fly over France … oh well [laughing emojis]’. 

It was not just Ryanair that faced issues, as EasyJet flights were cancelled, with people stranded in Nice last night after Edinburgh flights were put on hold. 

Last minute flight cancellations were also seen at Bristol, with one Twitter user posting a picture of queues on Saturday, asking EasyJet to pay for his missed trip. It was not known if this delay was due to strikes. 

In a recorded statement, Mr O’Leary said: ‘I’m speaking to you this morning Tuesday from our Dublin operation centre with the bad news that again today we have had to cancel just about 400 flights of the 3200 flights we had scheduled to operate today.

‘All of these flights have been cancelled because of the latest French ATC strike.’

He added that the French have travel alternatives within the country, as they can take its high-speed train service or use motorways. 

Last week, Ryanair submitted a petition calling for the European Commission, led by Ursula von der Leyen, to insist that France protects overflights during French ATC strikes. 

The petition has so far been signed by over 1.1million of Ryanair’s ‘very fed up’ customers. 

The CEO added: ‘Spain, Italy and Greece already protect these overflights so that when their national ATC unions go on strike, the overflights are not disrupted. 

‘We are calling on the commission today for action.’ 

As part of Ryanair’s call to action, the airline revealed that more than 4,000 flights have been cancelled so far this year as a result of ATC strikes, ‘mainly overflying France’. 

In his call to the commission, he added: ‘Europe is a single market. In a single market the overflights and skies over Europe must be protected. Take action.’ 

One person wrote on social media that the lights were turned off in the terminal where people were stranded due to flight cancellations last night

One person wrote on social media that the lights were turned off in the terminal where people were stranded due to flight cancellations last night

However not everyone saw it as bad, with David Wilson posting a selfie on social media writing: 'Just got a message from Ryanair... my flight home on Tuesday has been cancelled due to air traffic control strikes in France so we can't fly over France ... oh well [laughing emojis]'

However not everyone saw it as bad, with David Wilson posting a selfie on social media writing: ‘Just got a message from Ryanair… my flight home on Tuesday has been cancelled due to air traffic control strikes in France so we can’t fly over France … oh well [laughing emojis]’

Last minute flight cancellations were also seen at Bristol, with one Twitter user posting a picture of queues on Saturday

Last minute flight cancellations were also seen at Bristol, with one Twitter user posting a picture of queues on Saturday

One person whose flight was cancelled took to Twitter to voice her frustrations. 'Absolute joke ours has been cancelled,' she wrote. 'Now been transferred Manchester to East Midlands with a 9-hour delay'

One person whose flight was cancelled took to Twitter to voice her frustrations. ‘Absolute joke ours has been cancelled,’ she wrote. ‘Now been transferred Manchester to East Midlands with a 9-hour delay’

Jan Dent told MailOnline: ‘My son, his wife and our 21-month-old granddaughter were supposed to be on an afternoon flight today from Manchester to Malaga.

‘We live in Spain so don’t get to see them as often as we would like to so we’re looking forward to ten days together.’

She added: ‘They are booked to fly again on Thursday but it means changing airport, parking, car hire etc.’ 

‘Absolute joke ours has been cancelled,’ another passenger wrote on Twitter. ‘Now been transferred Manchester to East Midlands with a 9-hour delay. No idea what to do about transfers, can’t get in touch with the holiday company as it’s too busy and yet no compensation apparently – livid!!!’ 

Air traffic controllers in France, as well as members of the French national rail company SNCF, have been striking in protest against proposed pension reforms by Emmanuel Macron.

His reforms would see the retirement age in France increased from 62 to 64 years old.

It would also force workers to contribute to the pension system for longer, as state pensions in the country are financed by a payroll tax.

Indeed, the public are not just angry at Macron for increasing the retirement age, but also because he used a special presidential decree (Article 49.3) to pass his proposals through the National Assembly without approval.

This has been perceived as undemocratic. Civilians and workers also argue that, if he is using Article 49.3 to increase the retirement age now, there is nothing to stop him doing so again with other legislation in the future.

Protests have been ongoing since January 2023.



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