French Air Traffic controllers have confirmed that they are going to strike this Sunday to Tuesday (March 20-22), a move which EUclaim predicts will significantly affect any UK passengers travelling to Southern Europe next week.
Analysing historical flight data, Tjitze Noordehaven, chief operating officer for the flight delay compensation company, predicts things could get even worse for British holidaymakers if their flight delay modelling data is correct: “If the French unions follow their strike patterns of 2014, we are likely to see further action in May and June, spoiling summer holidays.”
Unfortunately, British travellers won’t be able to claim any compensation if delays or cancellations are caused by a French Air Traffic Control strike, because strike action is not considered ‘extraordinary’.
Mr Noorderhaven continued: “Analysing data from the biggest airports in the UK over the Easter period for the last three years, cancelled and delayed flights are much higher over this long weekend when Easter falls in March rather than April because of the worse weather conditions.”
When Easter last fell in March in 2013, Manchester Airport saw 30 flights delayed for more than three hours and 17 cancellations, compared with nine delays and four cancellations over the April Easter weekend in 2014.
London airports reveal the same March Easter patterns, particularly Heathrow and Gatwick. Heathrow saw 12 cancelled flights in 2013, dropping to five for the 2014 Easter weekend. This shot back up to 16 with the early April holiday last year. Gatwick is no less at fault with 15 cancellations in 2013, compared to three in 2014 and rising to 11 last year.
Mr Noorderhaven said: “The upshot is, French Air Traffic Control strike action is going to throw a real spanner in the works for anyone travelling to Southern Europe next week and with only a few extra days off for the Easter weekend, we need to make sure that we’re not wasting time stuck at the airport or on the tarmac. Hopefully UK travellers can use these tips to make the most of this precious time off. We would encourage anyone who has been delayed or had their flight cancelled to get in touch.”