French flight controllers began a strike late last night which is expected to disrupt air traffic until early Thursday.
The industrial action was called by five trade unions to protest what they claim will be a loss of jobs when six European countries merge their civil aviation services.
Passengers face at least 24-hours of cancellations and delays at the height of the holiday season.
Philippe Lohat of the air traffic controllers’ union USAC-CGT was sympathetic to the plight of passengers. “ We feel sorry for the tourists but we are not responsible for this strike, because for months we have been asking the administration not to adopt the merging agreement now but to wait until the end of the mediation process.”
Carriers have been asked to cancel half of all flights taking off from and arriving at Paris’ Orly Airport and 20 per cent of flights at the capital’s other major airport, Charles de Gaulle.
The trade unions are protesting against the creation of the so-called Single European Sky re-organisation.