12-Oct-2010 9:58 AM

Strike over France's pension reforms cause cancellations

French Government's plans to raise the official retirement age to 62 and and lift the age for a full pension to 67 from 65 has prompted a nationwide protest to commence on 12-Oct-2010 (Reuters/ABTN/Bloomberg/Business & Leadership/Telegraph.co.uk, 11-Oct-2010). The government says the changes are needed to help France cope with an ageing population and balance the pension system’s budget by 2018. French workers have already carried out three strikes since the beginning of Sep-2010 over proposed pension reforms. Approximately 30% of services to and from Roissy Charles de Gaulle Airport and 50% of those at Paris Orly will be canceled, affecting mainly medium-haul and domestic services. Some unions have threatened to prolong the strikes beyond 12-Oct-2010 and have called for further demonstrations on 16-Oct-2010. The strike is due to end at 8am on 13-Oct-2010. French high-speed trains, the national railway system and the Paris metro will also be disrupted. 

Air France cancelled a number of domestic and European services, including to London City and Heathrow, but says it will be operating all long-haul services. In a statement, the carrier said: "Some air traffic controllers' trade unions will take part in the general strike launched in France. As a result, French Civil aviation authorities have limited the number of flights for all airlines."

Air France-KLM Group said the protest may affect all its long-haul flights and some European and domestic services. Easyjet will cancel a number of services, and British Airways warns of disruption.

Iberia stated (11-Oct-2010) some European and domestics flights could be indirectly affected by the strike by French air traffic controllers. Air traffic restrictions caused by the strike are likely to bring delays to some flights and possible further cancellations due to airport closures. The effects of the strike are not confined to France, but will disrupt traffic through French airspace, including many flights between Spain and other European destinations, and there will be knock-on effects to domestic flights. [more]

Ryanair has cancelled 250 services on the day as a result of the industrial action. In 2010, Ryanair has cancelled 1,650 flights and disrupted 2.5 million passengers so far as a direct result of Belgian, French and Spanish ATC strikes and work-to-rules, according to a company statement. The carrier has called on the European Commission to remove the "right to strike" from ATC workers. [more - Ryanair] [more- Helsinki Airport] [more - Jersey Airport] [more - London Luton Airport] [more - Belfast International Airport] [more - Ireland West Knock Airport]

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