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Aer Lingus and Ryanair flights cancelled over 'single sky' strike

Have you holidays booked over the next three days? Read on.

SIX AER LINGUS and four Ryanair flights between France and Ireland have been cancelled today because of a strike by French air traffic controllers.

Ryanair have also had to cancel more than 100 other European flights because of the industrial action. Schedules for the next two days will also be disrupted because of the ongoing dispute.

Passengers will be accommodated on the next available flight, according to Aer Lingus. A spokesperson told that customers are advised to check the website before travelling to the airport.

Workers have staged the three-day walkout over plans to create a single airspace for the European Union. They fear the proposals will affect safety, as well as employment conditions.

The European Commission is due to present proposals to speed up the reform of Europe’s air traffic control system later today. The moves are part of a decade of difficult efforts to create a “Single European Sky”.

There have been reports that air traffic controllers in up to 11 other countries will take further action, including strikes and work-to-rules from tomorrow.

Francois Ballestero of the European Transport Workers’ Federation said the day of action will highlight the social cost of the reforms of a ‘Single European Sky’.

“The commission is planning rules that will further liberalise the sector and affect job numbers,” he said. The Brussels-based ETF represents 250,000 civil aviation sector employees, including 25,000 air traffic control workers, in the 27 countries of the EU.

The EU says the single sky plan could triple its airspace capacity, improve safety ten-fold, reduce pollution by 10 percent and cut air traffic management costs by 50 per cent.

Fragmented country-by-country, air control is estimated to bring extra costs of close to €5 billion a year to airlines and passengers, adding 42 kilometres to the distance of an average flight, thus also harming the environment and causing delays.

The United States controls the same amount of airspace with more traffic at almost half the cost.

Aer Lingus said it has not yet been affected by further work to rules or strikes in any jurisdiction other than France. The company said it “sincerely regrets” the inconvenience caused but noted that the cancellations are due to factors beyond its control.

-Additional reporting by AFP

Read: Aer Lingus passenger numbers up 5.3 per cent last month

More: Ryanair creeps closer to 80m annual passengers after positive May

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