Northern Ireland

Over 200 Bank Holiday Monday Ryanair flights cancelled over French strike action

Ryanair flights have been cancelled over strike action on Monday by French air traffic controllers.
Ryanair flights have been cancelled over strike action on Monday by French air traffic controllers.

Flights to and from Belfast International and Dublin Airport are among those expected to be cancelled by Ryanair as a result of the French air traffic control strike.

The budget airline said it was axing 220 flights on Bank Holiday Monday as a result of the strike, which is part of wider action across France protesting controversial pension reforms by President Emmanuel Macron.

The French Civil Aviation Authority has advised airlines to cut back on flights in and out of French airports, but the strike is set to have a knock-on effect by impacting flights across Europe that travel through French airspace.

It is thought up to 35 flights in and out of Dublin Airport will be scrapped on Monday, while flights at Belfast International and Cork Airport will also be among those cancelled.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary, who has been critical of French authorities over the industrial action, said up to 40,000 passengers across Europe will be affected.

"France is using minimum service legislation to protect its local French flights," the CEO said in a video statement released on Saturday.

"But all the cancellations are then being disproportionately being passed on to English flights, Irish flights, Italian flights, Spanish flights, German flights. This is unfair.

"When there are air traffic control strikes in Italy, they protect overflights. In Greece they protect overflights.

"France must be required by the EU commission to protect overflights. It is unfair that flights from the UK to Spain or from Italy to Portugal are being cancelled simply because a bunch of French air traffic control units want to go on strike."

Mr O'Leary added: "We respect their right to strike, but if they want to strike cancel the French flights, protect the overflights."