RYANAIR CEO Michael O’Leary has described a new wave French air traffic control strikes disrupting flights to and from Spain as a ‘scandal’.

Speaking at an aviation conference in Brussels, the budget airline boss warned that holidaymakers face chaos throughout April, including the busy Easter period, due to the industrial action.

O’Leary said French air traffic control had asked Ryanair to cancel 60 European flights on Wednesday alone, and that they were asked to cancel a further 60 flights on Thursday.

He added that he had been informed of ‘the wonderful news that the daily French ATC [air traffic control] strikes will continue for the month of April’.

“The French are going to get worse and worse for the next three and four months”, O’Leary predicted.

He added: “People are really f****** p***** off with flights getting cancelled left, right and centre because the French are on strike.”

“They’re not going to France, it’s the overflights that are taking all the cancellations.”

Tension between airlines and French controllers has been a recurring issue but escalated this year amid France’s growing political crisis over changes to the retirement age.

France’s DGAC aviation authority said it was applying minimum service rules for some flights but carriers like Ryanair want this to apply to overflights, as well as domestic trips.

It therefore means a disproportionate number of cancellations for flights between the British Isles and Spain.

Ryanair launched a petition this month aimed at getting one million signatures from passengers in order to force the European Commission to take action to prevent further disruption being caused by the French strikes.

The airline says the EU needs to take steps to ensure overflights of France are allowed during French ATC strikes, in order to guarantee the fundamental freedom of movement.


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