Ryanair calls on governments to take action to protect overflights as French ATC strikes

OSLO – Irish Low Cost Carrier (LCC) Ryanair has called on the UK, Irish, Italian and Spanish governments to take action to protect overflights in French airspace when French ATC is on strike.

Helps prevent delays and cancellations

On September 29, Ryanair released a statement calling on the governments of countries including Italy, Spain and the UK to take action to protect their citizens and overflights to or from their home countries.

This is to prevent thousands of flights by Italian, Spanish, Irish and British citizens from being canceled due to the ongoing strikes by air traffic controllers (ATC) in France, which, despite false promises by the French, have caused major disruptions to flights to and from these countries.

Ryanair recently criticized the French government for using minimum service legislation to protect French citizens as well as French flights. This has caused major disruption as well as cancellations and delays for thousands of travelers to Ireland, Spain, Italy and the UK, who have a planned flight route through the French airspace.

With repeated failed attempts by the European Commission to protect Europe’s single air travel market, Ryanair now sees reason to call on these governments to protect their citizens and their flight schedules from being “hijacked”. by the ATC unions in France, which closes the skies over the country.

Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanairsaid the following during the call: “We are fed up with these repeated flight disruptions and cancellations caused by tiny French ATC unions, and the French government‘s policy of using minimum services to protect French flights. for French citizens while disrupting thousands of flights overflying France for thousands of EU citizens not traveling to/from France.

“The European Commission under Ursula von der Leyen continues to stand idly by as the single European air transport market is destroyed again and again by these tiny French ATC unions, and if the European Commission does not act to protect its citizens, then the national government must intervene”.

The ATC Strike

Just two weeks ago, French air traffic control (ATC) staff went on strike over pay and recruitment conditions, leading to mass cancellations of thousands of scheduled flights.

On the day the strike began, Ryanair itself was forced to cancel 420 scheduled flights which affected around 80,000 travellers, on which it later said:

“Ryanair regrets being forced to cancel 420 flights (disrupting 80,000 passengers) flying mainly over France on Friday following this unwarranted French ATC strike, which only disrupts thousands of European citizens/visitors’ travel plans. the weekend.”

Earlier in September, the SNCTA Syndicate (National Syndicate of Traffic Controllers)issued a statement on the strike, stating: “After several months of discussions despite the remaining 14 days to reconcile this strike notice, no concrete element or guarantee has been provided by the DGAC and the public authorities.”

“While it is undeniable that the retirement wall is approaching and must be anticipated, the absence of guarantees on recruitment for 2023 and the following years is unacceptable.”

“While the revenues are there because the compensation for inflation is foreseen in the European performance plans, the absence of a salary increase is irreconcilable.

“Faced with the failure of the negotiations, the SNCTA maintains the strike notice of Friday, September 16 and calls for general mobilization.”


Ryanair is really sending out a plea for help to maintain stable operations and avoid delays and cancellations, which governments hope to consider.

Given that the ATC strike in France has already marked operational service significantly, not only for Ryanair, but for other airlines, this is an issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of priority. , the result being a solution that will prevent further disruption to flight operations.