A strike by air traffic controllers at Paris Orly airport has prompted the French civil aviation authority to order airlines to cancel a staggering 70% of flights over the upcoming weekend. 

The disruption, set to commence from 0400 GMT on Saturday and extend through late Sunday, has cast a shadow over travel plans for thousands of passengers, exacerbating concerns as France braces for the impending Paris Olympics.


This industrial action marks the second major air traffic controllers strike in just a month, echoing a previous episode that resulted in widespread flight cancellations across Europe. 

While the earlier dispute was resolved through negotiations between airport authorities and the main union, the SNCTA, the current standoff involves the UNSA-ICNA, the second-largest labor group representing air traffic controllers.

Central to the grievances raised by UNSA-ICNA is the issue of staffing levels, with the union decrying what it perceives as inadequate measures by airport management. 

In a scathing statement, UNSA-ICNA accused Orly’s management of prioritizing cost-cutting measures over the well-being of its workforce, warning of dire consequences if the situation remains unaddressed. 

“The managers at Orly continue their penny-pinching and shopkeeper accounts, which will quickly lead to our teams being understaffed by 2027,” the union declared.

Government officials have swiftly condemned the strike, underscoring its impact on passengers and the broader aviation sector. 


Transport Minister Patrice Vergriete lamented the refusal of some local-level agents to acknowledge the legitimacy of prior agreements, emphasizing the repercussions faced by travelers as a result of the ongoing labor dispute.

Orly airport, situated to the south of Paris, serves as the capital’s second-busiest aviation hub, following Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle. 

With a staggering 32 million passengers passing through its terminals last year alone, Orly plays a pivotal role in France’s aviation infrastructure. 

It serves as a vital hub for national carrier Air France, as well as its low-cost subsidiary Transavia, alongside hosting operations for over 20 other airlines, including prominent names like easyJet, Iberia, and TAP.

Despite the widespread disruption anticipated over the weekend, some semblance of normalcy will persist for flights between Orly and French overseas territories, which are slated to operate as scheduled, according to the DGAC.

The timing of this labor dispute couldn’t be more precarious, as France gears up to host the much-anticipated Paris Olympics scheduled to commence on July 26. 

The strike underscores the challenges facing authorities in ensuring smooth operations and mitigating disruptions in the lead-up to this global event.

As travelers brace for potential chaos at Orly airport, the spotlight falls squarely on the negotiating table, where stakeholders must urgently seek common ground to avert further disruptions and safeguard the integrity of France’s aviation network. 

With tensions running high and the specter of future strikes looming, the need for a swift and amicable resolution has never been more pressing.

In the interim, passengers are advised to stay abreast of developments and make alternate travel arrangements where possible, as the repercussions of the ongoing labor dispute reverberate throughout the aviation industry.


This article was created using automation and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our staff editorial members


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