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Air traffic control strike disrupts hundreds of flights

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A strike by French air traffic controllers has created havoc for airline passengers in Europe as airlines have cancelled and delayed flights reported CNN on June 25, 2014.

As of Wednesday, passengers flying on British Airways, EasyJet, and RyanAir had their flights cancelled or delayed. British Airways cancelled three flights from Heathrow to Lyon, Marseillle, and Toulouse. The airline is considering bringing in larger airplanes to accommodate passengers who choose to rebook on different flights.

EasyJet cancelled 101 flights of its 1,397 scheduled flights. Affected passengers can use the EasyJet website, text messaging, and the EasyJet flight tracker tool to find the latest information regarding their flights.

RyanAir released a statement indicating that it plans to cancel 240 flights of its 1,600 scheduled flights on Wednesday. The statement indicated additional flights would also be cancelled. Passenger are advised to expect further delays throughout the day and are asked to be patient. The airline also issued an apology to their passengers.

Belgian air traffic controllers joined in their support of the French air traffic controllers and voted to stage a walkout on Wednesday. As a result, all flights into Brussels Airport for Wednesday have been cancelled.

The six-day strike is expected to last until Monday morning. The strike could also cause delays for passengers flying to Spain reported the Independent on June 24, 2014.

Eurocontrol, the European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, estimates that the French air traffic controller strike will cause approximately 14,000 hours of flight delays reported the UK Daily Express on June 25, 2014. Last year approximately 1,800 flights a day were cancelled due to a similar strike. Although, this year’s disruption should have less of an impact because only one of the two unions that stated a walkout last year is participating.

Passengers traveling to and from all European airports are advised to check their flight status before leaving for the airport. Airline websites have been updated to reflect current flight information and additional staff have been assigned to the airport to help affected passengers.

Passengers affected by flight cancellations and delays are covered by European Union law that outlines airline passengers’ rights and compensation. Passengers are entitled to a full refund or the option to rebook their flight for another date. EU law covers all passengers flying in Europe.