Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

French air traffic controllers are due to strike for 9 days between today and 2nd May

The SNCTA union, which is France's largest, has called the strike in a dispute over working conditions. The DGAC civil aviation authority has asked airlines to cut their schedules for flights to and from France by 40%. Short-haul flights are will be those worst affected.

Ryanair issued a fairly strongly worded statement : “We sincerely apologise to all customers affected by this unwarranted strike action and we call on the EU and French authorities to take measures to prevent any further disruption.   It's grossly unfair that thousands of European travellers will once again have their travel plans disrupted by the selfish actions of a tiny number of French ATC [air traffic control] workers."

It seems that a particular grievance for the SNCTA is the raising of the retirement age for air traffic controllers by 2 years to 59. Further industrial action is planned between 16-18 April & 29 April-2 May.

This is particularly frustrating for a business such as ours where clients plan weeks ahead for their viewing visits, carefully mapping out a schedule of property visits.

It comes with incredible timing as the passport agencies are also about to increase controls at all entry and exit points to the UK. Here, exit checks are expected to particularly affect travellers on cross-channel ferries and the channel tunnel, leading to considerable delays and disruption. For the first month, all passports will be scanned, but only 1 in 4 passport holders will have their details verified to ensure they are genuine, in a bid to minimise disruption. Then there will be a move to 50% checking and by mid June, 100% verification will be introduced.

The government insists that these requirements are needed to combat illegal immigration and would cause the "least possible disruption".
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