WASHINGTON -- Air travelers in Europe can expect major disruptions
June 19 -- many won't get to fly at all -- as air traffic
controllers in as many as 13 countries participate in a job action
to protest a European Union plan to unify the continent's air
traffic control services.
The longest strike will be in France, where controllers will be
off the job for 12 hours, but shorter strikes also are scheduled in
Italy, Greece and Portugal. Capacity at Budapest airport could be
reduced by 70%.
The job actions will affect not only flights to the countries
involved, but also ones that fly over them.
Air France said it will operate only 10% of its domestic and
European network June 19, but 90% of its long-haul fights. One U.S.
flight might be affected, but a spokeswoman said June 18 the
airline is not certain which one.
British Airways canceled most of its 126 flights in and out of
France from midnight Tuesday to midnight Wednesday. Meanwhile,
services to and from Italy, Greece and Portugal also might be
affected, the airline said.
The European Union said the unification proposal, which has
airline backing, is needed to reduce delays and allow more planes
to fly by improving air traffic control coordination and
The unions, however, are worried the plan will lead to
privatization, and a loss of jobs and safety.