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Passengers arrive at Malaga Airport (file image). SUR
Strike action in France causes flight delays and cancellations at Malaga Airport
Air travel

Strike action in France causes flight delays and cancellations at Malaga Airport

There are estimates that up to 50% of flights in Spain will be affected by the French air traffic controllers' strike today, and an association of leading airlines has called on the EU to take tougher action to protect flights using the airspace over France

Pilar Martínez

Malaga

Thursday, 25 April 2024, 14:38

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The flight information boards at Malaga Airport are highlighting a day that has already been plagued by delays and some cancellations this Thursday, 25 April. A strike by French air traffic controllers has caused the unusual number of delayed flights - both arriving and departing - with some even cancelled. In the latter case, these are mainly connections to and from French airports. Flights scheduled to arrive this morning from cities such as Bordeaux, Paris, Toulouse and Marseille have all been suspended.

The Spanish airline association (ALA) claims that this 24-hour strike could cause delays to almost 50% of flights operating in Spain. "Bearing in mind that 85% of them do not originate from or go to France, but are overflying the airspace of the neighbouring country, we have urged the EU to demand that France protect flights crossing its airspace as soon as possible to avoid creating problems for passengers and airlines, which are forced to readapt their operations", it said.

Spain's flag carrier airline Iberia has announced that it has cancelled 26 flights at Spanish airports for this Thursday due to the air traffic controllers' strike in France and that it has already notified and put most of the affected passengers on other services. They correspond to the outbound and return flights on thirteen. Some of the destinations affected are in France, such as Paris and Toulouse. Air Nostrum has also confirmed the cancellation of 18 flights for Thursday and another two for Friday.

In addition, Iberia has announced that flights to London (UK), Vienna (Austria), Milan, Venice (Italy) and Geneva (Switzerland), affected by traffic through French airspace, have also been cancelled.

The strike, called by the French unions UNSA-ICNA and USAC-CGT, will cause air traffic delays and cancellations from today until 6am this Friday, according to forecasts by the French Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGAC).

Spain is, after France, the country most affected by the air traffic controllers' stoppages, according to the ALA, which estimates that thousands of flights are affected by this stoppage.

The president of ALA, Javier Gándara, has insisted on the need for the EU to take a bold step forward and force France, as happens in Italy and Spain, to protect overflights in French airspace with minimum services. "We are held captive by the French air traffic controllers every time they threaten to strike. Just the announcement of a strike has an impact, as it discourages passengers from travelling and forces airlines to readjust their schedules, conditioned by the expected impact of the strike, regardless of whether it actually takes place," he said. "We respect the right to strike of any group, but there must be a balance and the right to free movement must also be safeguarded. A decisive step by the European authorities is needed to put an end to this situation as soon as possible, as it is detrimental to passengers and airlines are forced to adapt their operations."

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