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Airport France Strike

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Air traffic control strike over French skies

Passengers wait beside a screen announcing an air traffic control dispute in February, 2010 at Paris' Orly airport. AFP

The first effects of the air traffic control action will be felt on Tuesday night, Paris time. The walkout is expected to disrupt flights to and from the capital's main airports, Charles de Gaulle/Roissy and Orly, and scheduled to last until Thursday morning.

Officials from France's DGAC civil aviation authority said the strike, along with stormy skies predicted for Wednesday, could mean the cancellation of one in five flights from Roissy and half of all flights from Orly.

French unions called the strike to protest a European plan to incorporate French air traffic control into a larger system. They walked out over the same issue last winter.

Junior transport minister Dominique Bussereau called the strike "inappropriate".

Meanwhile, in Barcelona, Spanish Transport Minister Jose Blanco said the military would take over for air traffic controllers there. Tuesday saw two-thirds of them call in sick in what is widely seen as an undercover strike.

The DGAC is telling travellers to contact airlines directly before heading to the airport.