Air traffic controller strikes: 4 European airlines file a complaint against France

2 min reading time

Published on 25/07/18 - Updated on 17/03/22

Grèves controleurs aérien / Strikes by Air traffic controllers

In view of the repeated strikes by French air traffic controllers, four airlines have chosen to lodge a formal complaint against France with the EU.

Denouncing a violation of the principle of freedom of movement within the European Union, British airlines IAG and easyJet, Irish Ryanair and Hungarian Wizz Air have filed complaints to the European Commission against France.

These companies consider that France does not respect European law by prohibiting aircraft from flying over its territory during strikes by controllers, thereby restricting freedom of movement within the EU. Michael O'Leary, CEO of Ryanair regrets it: "When Greece and Italy have air traffic control strikes, overflights continue as normal. Why won’t France do the same?"

The carriers do not contest the right to strike, but point out that the strikes in question have been four times more frequent in France in the last three months than during the same period last year. In a statement, the four airlines claim that 16,000 flights were disrupted in the first half of the year by these strikes (according to Eurocontrol, the European organisation responsible for air traffic safety), affecting nearly 2 million passengers.

Ryanair considers, in the "air traffic control" chapter of its latest report, the French case to be the "worst nuisance" in the sector.

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