Air traffic controllers strike Thursday: companies expect “considerable” flight cancellations

The air traffic controllers' strike planned for Thursday will be "a very closely followed movement", warned the president of the main organization bringing together companies in the airline sector, Pascal de Izaguirre, Tuesday April 23, during a press conference

Air traffic controllers strike Thursday: companies expect “considerable” flight cancellations

The air traffic controllers' strike planned for Thursday will be "a very closely followed movement", warned the president of the main organization bringing together companies in the airline sector, Pascal de Izaguirre, Tuesday April 23, during a press conference.

“We were told of 75% of flights canceled at Orly and 65% at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle. It will have a huge impact,” announced the president of the National Federation of Aviation and its Trades (FNAM) while all the unions are calling for a strike of air traffic controllers, after the failure of negotiations on accompanying measures for an overhaul of air traffic control.

Mr. de Izaguirre also denounced the arguments of the first union of air traffic controllers, the SNCTA, which is demanding salary increases which he considers to have no impact on the French taxpayer since the budget of the general directorate of civil aviation ( DGAC) is supplemented by fees paid by airlines. This additional cost “would ultimately be passed on to the passenger,” explained Pascal de Izaguirre, who is also CEO of Corsair. Not to mention that this would constitute “an additional element of deterioration of our competitiveness” because this cost is “borne mainly by French companies”, argued the manager.

FNAM is concerned about the deterioration of French competitiveness, whose companies lose market share each year to Turkish or Gulf companies. According to Mr. Izaguirre, France breaks the record for air traffic control strikes with an impact on the finances of the European aviation sector of 800 million euros for the period 2018-2022, including 624 million for France alone.

For comparison, in second place in this ranking we find Italy, where strikes represented a shortfall of 147 million euros over the same period, then Greece, with 22 million euros, still according to figures put forward by FNAM.

In September 2023, the SNCTA and the UNSA-ICNA, the second union among air traffic controllers, declared an Olympic truce, promising not to strike for salary reasons between now and the end of the Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11) and Paralympics (August 28 to September 8). “We discovered that it was only partial,” quipped Pascal de Izaguirre, confiding that he was not worried about the competition period itself. The sector is also expecting a “dynamic” summer. Over the first three months of the year, air traffic from, to and in France reached 96% of that of 2019 for the same period.