Delays rock Swiss airports as French airspace paralysed by strike action

Delays rock Swiss airports as French airspace paralysed by strike action

Airlines and airports in Switzerland and across the rest of Europe have reported significant delays and disruption to services after air-traffic control staff in France walked out over their continued opposition to the pension reforms proposed by President Emmanuel Macron. Several flights between Switzerland and France have been cancelled, alongside large delays to flights that have to fly over French airspace.

SWISS services hit by delays on June 6

In a statement given to 20 Minuten, SWISS said that from 6pm on June 5 to 6am on June 7, “France's civil aviation authority expects a major impact to flights that take off or land in France.” Air traffic controllers and ground staff at a number of French airports are due to strike for the entirety of June 6, making landing and taking off from France especially challenging.

As well as flights between Switzerland and France, SWISS added that “overflights are also affected - i.e. those flights that cross French airspace to get to Spain, Portugal or the USA, for example. Long delays are to be expected.” They added that for all flights leaving Zurich, Basel and Geneva that travel north or west, "Detours south or north of France will be necessary in some cases, which in turn will result in further delays."

Swiss airports brace for delays and cancelled flights

As a result of the strike, a significant number of flights - the French Civil Aviation Authority has told airlines to suspend up to 30 percent of services to France - will be cancelled, and all flights in Europe will face a risk of delays and cancellations. For its part, SWISS said they expect “delays on numerous flights, and there may be occasional cancellations." 

Speaking to 20 Minuten, Oliver Buchhofer, head of operations at SWISS, said that they “regret that our passengers are inconvenienced. Our employees have been working intensively for a few days to keep our flight schedule as stable as possible. Our top priority is to avoid cancellations, and we also want to operate our flights as punctually as possible, which unfortunately will not always be possible.” 

Families and individuals departing from Swiss airports on June 6 are encouraged to check the status of their flights regularly. Airlines will communicate delays in real time and will inform passengers of cancellations as soon as possible.

Thumb image credit: / Anton Gvozdikov

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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