French air traffic controllers have gone on strike over plans to unify European air space.
France’s civil aviation authority has asked airlines to cancel 20 per cent of flights from Paris, Charles de Gaulle airport.
Flights to and from the city’s Orly airport are also being reduced by 50 per cent.
Air France however, says all its long-haul flights will operate as normal as well as most of its middle distance flights taking off from Charles de Gaulle.
But, additional flight cancellations and delays are possible.
Air traffic controllers’ unions are opposed to the creation of the Single European Sky or SES – due to be introduced in 2012.
David Henderson, of the Association of European Airlines said: “There’s obviously a natural resistance to change and at the moment the system we have is grossly inefficient, inefficient in terms of money, resources and in terms of its performance. We are not saying that in the future we need less controllers. But the controllers we have will be more productive.”
The unions fear the plan will lead to job losses and curtail benefits.
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The action – which is likely to have a knock-on effect at all French airports – is not due to end until early on Thursday.
Would-be air travellers are being asked to contact their airlines for more information.
The euronews website is carrying contact numbers for airlines and hotels to help stranded passengers make alternative arrangements.