The air traffic control disruption over France could be solved ‘with the flick of a switch’, according to travel expert Eoghan Corry.
Over 30 flights to and from Dublin Airport were cancelled yesterday because of the strikes, which are impacting anyone flying over French airspace.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, air & Travel Editor Eoghan Corry said France’s air traffic control dispute is “a big rumbling ongoing issue that people have been talking about for years and doing nothing about.”
He said the French strikes are unusual in that they impact people flying over the country as well as into it.
“[Normally], if air traffic controllers go on strike – which they have done in Belgium, Spain, Italy down the years – overflights are allowed,” he said.
‘Flick of a switch’
This strike will largely affect Ryanair, who carry a large proportion of the flights that go to Spain and Portugal.
“They had 400 flights cancelled,” he said.
Eoghan said the strike could potentially be solved with “a flick of a switch.”
“The Europe Control say there are no safety issues, air traffic controllers in other countries can handle the overflight,” he said.
“There's another national issue there that the French flights are protected.
“It's the foreign carrier carriers, the foreign tourists who are most likely to be affected by this.”
Eoghan said the issue is a political issue, not one for the EU Commission.
“It's a member states issue and the EU Commission was comfortable with conversations [with] Eamonn Brennan, who was the last leader of EUROCONTROL and Brussels,” he said.
“Michael O'Leary is very vocal on it – he presented 1.1 million passenger signatures and a petition to the EU Commission during the week.
“We are at a point where the airlines have been kicked around by this refusal to allow overflights for so long now that they are beyond frustrated.
“The real issue is that it does raise that sort of that tension between the commission and the Member States, which sometimes impinges on aviation issues.”
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