The recent strikes organized by ATC staff in France led to the cancelation of around 500 flights while delaying several others. Flights connecting Italy, Spain and the UK were some of the worst affected. The ATC workers had stopped operations as part of a larger national strike called on by public sector workers in the country.
This led to the piling up of several delays across various airports in Europe. Eurocontrol in Brussels sent out warnings of “high delays” at the air-traffic centers in Madrid and Maastricht caused by additional traffic refiling due to the French ATC strikes.
The western part of France was the worst affected, with control centers in Bordeaux and Brest having to manage with very few workers. Marseille, which looks after the southeastern quadrant and most of the Mediterranean airspace, also experienced high delays.
RyanAir faces the worst
RyanAir happened to be the worst hit, with several of its flights to and from France being grounded. This also included flights that were supposed to cross France. A total of 44 flights from and to its base in Stansted had also been canceled. Around 8000 of the carrier’s passengers were said to have been affected.
Among its canceled flights were 3 round-trips to Marseille and Madrid. Then, services to Toulouse, Nice, La Rochelle, Perpignan, Carcassonne, Biarritz, tours, and Limoges also made it to the canceled list.
Flights to Spain were canceled as well. This included flights to Palma, Reus, Castellon, Valencia, Ibiza, Seville, and Barcelona. A round-trip flight to Lisbon has also been canceled.
According to passenger reports, they were unable to reach out to RyanAir. The carrier did not respond to queries sent in by phone or live chat. One of the spokespeople for RyanAir responded to this by claiming that the phone lines and chat services were operational but were unable to keep up with the high traffic volume, which was caused as a result of the cancellations. The spokesperson added that the carrier had done its best to entertain the needs of as many customers as it could.
It is believed that RyanAir has already processed a large number of refunds and flight transfers to compensate for the cancellations.
A bad day for BA
British Airways (BA) saw 40 of its flights from/to the UK being canceled due to the strike. This included routes to/from Madrid and Barcelona. Other than that, the carrier had to cancel multiple flights to Paris, Nice, Geneva, and Marseille.
The carrier had to deal with significant delays in Heathrow as well, with routes to Prague, Venice, Milan, and Aberdeen being affected the most. Arrivals to the airport from Nice, Pisa, and Barcelona were expected to take place after midnight.
The last flight from Gatwick to Edinburgh, which was originally scheduled for the evening, had to be rescheduled to early Wednesday morning.
Among other carriers, EasyJet was also affected. However, it did not suffer as much as BA or RyanAir. Most of the carrier’s flights took extended routes, avoiding French airspace.