French strikes called off but not in time to reinstate cancelled flights

French strikes called off but not in time to reinstate cancelled flights

PARIS — As it turns out, French air traffic controllers are not going on strike this weekend, but the news came a little too late for airlines that had pre-emptively cancelled flights.

According to TravelMole, after last-minute talks with unions Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the strikes have been called off. It would have been the ninth strike action in three months, threatening major disruption to and from France right before the Euro 2016 football championship on June 10.

Anticipating that the strike would occur, both Ryanair and EasyJet cancelled dozens of flights while British Airways also made changes to its schedules. EastJet had expected a “large impact” to its schedules since approximately 65% of its flights use French airspace. British Airways, meanwhile, has re-introduced its flexible rebooking policy for passengers due to fly to France, Madrid and Barcelona this week, which means regardless of whether their flight is operating or not, they can delay travel until June 10.

The Guardian reports that Heathrow has confirmed the cancellation of 40 flights on Thursday, while Gatwick said a total of 28 flights had been cancelled.

The strike is part of wide union action in France against changes to France’s labour laws that would make hiring and firing employees easier. French rail services were affected, but the impact on air traffic control services was minimized after just one union – the CGT – took part.