BY DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL National flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) has canceled 21 flights to various cities in France due to a planned strike by air traffic controllers on Friday that is likely to cause severe disruptions in the mainland and also impact European flights.
France’s civil aviation authority DGAC has asked airlines to cancel half their flights for Friday after the biggest air traffic controllers’ union SNCTA called members out on strike for higher wages.
The cuts affect the whole of France, the DGAC said. It added that it was working with the European air travel regulator Eurocontrol to help airlines avoid the country’s air space.
Turkish Airlines has canceled flights to Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, Bordeaux and Toulouse including one cargo flight, from Istanbul Airport and Sabiha Gökçen Airport.
“Air traffic will be severely disrupted throughout the national territory” from Friday morning to Saturday morning, the Turkish Directorate General of Civil Aviation said.
“Cancellations and significant delays are expected,” it noted.
France’s dominant carrier Air France said Wednesday it would cancel more than half its short- and medium-haul flights on Friday.
“We can’t rule out delays and last-minute cancellations” among the flights that remain, the flag carrier said in a statement, adding that affected customers would be warned by text message and email.
Air France said just 45% of short- and medium-haul services would operate on Friday, while 90% of long-haul connections would go ahead.
Worker representatives complain that inflation is eroding spending power and raise worries about future recruitment.
The strike comes as the French government is preparing to unveil its 2023 budget, which the union says fails to guarantee the DGAC’s financing and could limit its ability to offer pay hikes.
Strikes across the aviation industry, including ground and cabin personnel who seek to have their salaries adjusted to increased living costs amid high inflation, caused severe disruptions to Europe’s summer traffic.
In July, several strikes by firefighters and staff at the French capital’s CDG hub led to cancellations and delays.