Strike mis­ery for fly­ers

Flights to and from south-east Spain hit by na­tional strike in France

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - News - Djones@cb­

By Dave Jones TENS of thou­sands of air­line pas­sen­gers had flights can­celled this week due to a na­tional strike in France over labour law re­form which was sup­ported by French air traf­fic con­trol (ATC) op­er­a­tors.

The paral­y­sis in French airspace af­fected routes to and from Ali­cante-Elche air­port, Mur­cia-San Javier and Va­len­cia.

Bud­get flyer Ryanair said it had been forced to can­cel more than 220 flights from Mon­day at 18.00 into the early hours of Wed­nes­day due to ‘th­ese un­jus­ti­fied ATC dis­rup­tions which are en­tirely out­side of our con­trol’.

They told cus­tomers they would be ‘up­dated on their flight sta­tus via email and/or the mo­bile phone num­ber pro­vided at time of book­ing’.

A to­tal of 12 of the can­celled flights listed on the air­line’s web­site should have de­parted from Ali­cante-Elche, with five bound for the UK.

Four out of five flights can­celled from Mur­cia-San Javier were also bound for the UK or Ire­land.

A to­tal of 10 flights from the UK or Ire­land to Ali­cante or Mur­cia were also can­celled.

Ryanair was the only air­line which an­nounced that it was can­celling flights en masse due to the strike.

Other bud­get fly­ers were more cir­cum­spect on the in­for­ma­tion they pro­vided to the pub­lic and me­dia on their web­sites.

Easy­Jet stated on Mon­day that as a large per­cent­age of its planes fly over France, ‘this will have an im­pact on our flights’.

“Just like other air­lines we are sub­ject to French air traf­fic reg­u­la­tions; we there­fore ex­pect de­lays and can­cel­la­tions on both days,” they noted.

They stated that they had taken the de­ci­sion to ‘proac­tively can­cel a num­ber of flights, al­low­ing cus­tomers to re­or­gan­ise their jour­neys’. merely stated on Mon­day that flights ‘op­er­at­ing to France or through French airspace may be sub­ject to dis­rup­tion’.

“We wish to as­sure cus­tomers that we will do our ut­most to keep any dis­rup­tion to a min­i­mum,” they noted.

“Whilst some de­lays may be ex­pe­ri­enced, we will be work­ing con­stantly to bring for­ward any de­layed de­par­tures and get flights un­der­way at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble op­por­tu­nity.”

Many Costa Blanca res­i­dents and vis­i­tors were af­fected by the strike ac­tion.

Bev­er­ley Hurn in Ori­huela Costa ex­plained that her in-laws were orig­i­nally booked with now-de­funct air­line Monarch for Wed­nes­day.

She noted on Tues­day: “They re­booked with Ryanair but re­turn­ing to­day in­stead of to­mor­row, so would have lost a day of their hol­i­day.”

How­ever, their new flights on Tues­day from Mur­cia-San Javier to Lu­ton were can­celled and the ear­li­est flight they could find back to the UK was from Ali­cante to Gatwick on Fri­day.

UK res­i­dent Janet Lawren­son noted on Tues­day: “Our Ryanair flight due to depart Manch­ester at 06.30 to­day to Ali­cante was can­celled yes­ter­day.

“We man­aged to book a Nor­we­gian Air­line flight at 19.30 this evening. We have missed a day in our beloved Oliva but at least we’re go­ing.”

The main air traf­fic con­trollers’ unions in France downed tools as part of a na­tional strike against the labour re­form poli­cies of the coun­try’s new pres­i­dent, Em­manuel Macron.

More in­dus­trial ac­tion is ex­pected in France in the fu­ture as Mr Macron seeks to push through the con­tro­ver­sial leg­is­la­tion.

Paul and Gina Wil­son were sup­posed to be on an Easy­jet flight to Ali­cante on Tues­day from Lu­ton but af­ter be­ing checked in and wait­ing in the de­par­ture lounge they found out their flight was can­celled.

Mr Wil­son said he re­ceived a mes­sage on a mo­bile app say­ing this was due to pi­lots not be­ing able to fly more hours, and then later a mes­sage about air traf­fic con­trol.

A friend of the cou­ple told Costa Blanca News: “As there were no other flights avail­able till the week­end, they had to get a flight on Wed­nes­day evening to Barcelona, land­ing at 21.05, and then a bus at 01.25 to Benidorm, and then an­other bus to Ali­cante air­port to pick up their car at the air­port.”

Un­happy Ali­cante-bound pas­sen­gers at Lu­ton air­port on Tues­day

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