France's New Law Aims to Minimize Flight Disruptions During Air Traffic Control Strikes


France has taken a significant step towards minimizing the impact of air traffic control (ATC) strikes on flight services by implementing a new law that requires air traffic controllers to notify their employers at least 48 hours in advance of their intention to strike. This measure is expected to allow airlines and the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC) to better manage strike situations and keep flight cancellations to a minimum.

The new law, which was approved by the Assemblée nationale with 85 votes in favor and 30 opposed, has been met with mixed reactions. While some view it as a necessary step to improve air travel reliability, others, particularly left-wing MPs, have criticized it as an infringement on workers' right to strike.

Despite the opposition, the government maintains that the law does not limit air traffic controllers' right to strike, nor does it mandate a minimum number of flights during strike hours. The impact on services during a strike will depend on the number of participating unions.

In response to the new law, air traffic controllers have planned a strike for Monday, November 20, which has resulted in the cancellation of 25% of flights at Paris-Orly and Toulouse-Blagnac airports and 20% at Bordeaux-Mérignac and Marseille-Provence.

With the 2024 Summer Olympics fast approaching, there are concerns about the potential for ATC strikes to disrupt travel during the Games. However, the largest union representing air traffic controllers, SNCTA, has announced an "Olympic truce" and has suspended walkouts until the Games are over. The union has also expressed support for the new law.

Overall, France's new law represents an effort to balance the right to strike with the need to maintain reliable air travel services. While it remains to be seen how effective the law will be in practice, it is a positive step towards reducing the impact of ATC strikes on passengers and airlines alike.

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