Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Airlines lodge EU complaint over French strikes

British Airways-owner IAG, easyJet, Ryanair and Wizz Air on Tuesday filed a complaint to the EU over what they say is France’s failure to tackle strikes by air traffic controllers.

Repeated strikes by France’s controllers, particularly in the south, are having a devastating impact on schedules and denying passengers their legal right to free movement, the airlines said in a joint statement.

IAG and Ryanair warned in June that they would file a complaint. They have now been joined by Hungarian no-frills carrier Wizz Air and British counterpart easyJet.

“International Airlines Group (IAG), Ryanair, easyJet and Wizz Air have submitted complaints to the European Commission against France as its air traffic controllers’ strikes restrict the fundamental principle of freedom of movement within the EU,” the statement said.

“The airlines are not questioning the right to strike but believe France is breaking EU law by not enabling flights over the country during strikes.”

According to the statement, French air traffic control (ATC) strikes have quadrupled this year compared with 2017.

“The right to strike needs to be balanced against freedom of movement,” said IAG chief executive Willie Walsh.

“It’s not only customers flying in and out of France who are affected during French ATC strikes.

“Passengers on routes that overfly France, especially the large airspace that covers Marseille and the Mediterranean, are also subject to delays and massive disruptions,” said Walsh.

He said all airlines were affected and has had a significant negative impact on Spain’s tourism and economy.”

A French senate report in June said that the country’s air traffic control was responsible for a third of all aviation delays in Europe, according to Le Parisien newspaper.

Between 2004 and 2016, French air traffic controllers were on strike for 254 days, vastly outstripping their closest rival Greece, where there were 46 days of stoppages and Italy with 37, according to the report seen by the daily.

In a separate development on Tuesday, dozens of Ryanair’s Ireland-based pilots staged their third 24-hour strike in an ongoing dispute over working arrangements including annual leave and promotions.

The industrial action has led to the cancellation of 16 flights affecting some 2 500 customers.

In addition, Ryanair cabin crew in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and Italy are going on strike on Wednesday and Thursday, leading to the cancellation of 600 flights over two days and affecting 100 000 passengers.

Vote for an informed choice

We’re dropping the paywall this week so that everyone can access all our stories for free, and get the information they need in the run up to the local government elections. To follow the news, sign up to our daily elections newsletter for the latest updates and analysis.

If our coverage helps inform your decision, cast your vote for an informed public and join our subscriber community. Right now, a full year’s access is just R510, half the usual cost. Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Agency
External source

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Mission implausible for the DA’s man in Nkandla

Malibongwe Dubazane is contesting all 14 of the IFP-run Nkandla local municipality’s wards

Andries Tatane’s spirit will drive fight against ANC in Ficksburg

The nascent Setsoto Service Delivery Forum is confident it can remove the ‘failing ANC’ in the chronically mismanaged Free State municipality

Paddy Harper: On gleeful politicians and headless chickens

Paddy Harper doesn’t know who to vote for yet, since the Dagga Party isn’t contesting his ward, but right now what to order for lunch is a more pressing concern

Malema: ANC will use load-shedding to steal votes

While on the campaign trail in the Eastern Cape, EFF leader Julius Malema, without evidence, claimed the ANC was planning to use rolling blackouts to ‘steal votes’
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×