Airlines across Europe anticipate another summer of flight disruptions, as French air traffic controllers prepare to strike for the first time this summer. Airlines will face restrictions related to ATC capacity issues.

The 35-hour walkout in France is due to start on 8 May at 1900 local time today and conclude at 0500 on 10 May.

Network manager Eurocontrol says it is hard to predict disruptions but has asked operators to reduce flight programmes by 30% at Paris Orly, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse airports.

Among the UK carriers to be hit will be low-cost carrier EasyJet which says around 65% of its flights pass through French airspace.

Operators have warned repeatedly passengers should anticipate disruption this summer as a result of expected strikes, staff shortages and congestion as Europe’s skies struggle to keep up with growing travel demand.

Eurocontrol says ATC staffing issues, weather, an increase in traffic and a lack of capacity had resulted in 25.6 million minutes of air traffic flow management delay in 2018. Each minute is estimated at costing operators around €70, that resulted in an additional cost of €1.7 billion for airspace users.

It is predicted that this year could be just as bad or even worse according to Eurocontrol.

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