Lobby group Airlines for Europe (A4E) has called on the French government to address air traffic controller (ATC) strike action, which has canceled at least 200 flights as a result of the latest French ATC walkout.

French ATC staff at Reims and Marseille has been on strike from Sept. 11-13 in the most recent round of industrial action.

A4E said the action impacts connectivity across other European Union (EU) member states and damages the economy. The body called for the issue to be tackled by the French National Mobility Summit, which will be held Sept. 19.

“With two-thirds of all European ATC strike days taking place in France, European and French policymakers need to implement measures capable of minimizing air traffic management disruption’s impact on travelers. More than 250 strike days since 2004 are enough— we cannot allow these well-paid air traffic controllers to restrict the rights of millions of European passengers,” A4E managing director Thomas Reynaert said.

“Given France’s geographical location, ATC strikes in France and a consequential partial closure or the reduction of capacity in French airspace considerably decrease the potential for overflights in French airspace, and decreases the connectivity of and with other member states,” he said.

Irish LCC Ryanair said it had canceled 110 flights Sept. 12 because of the strike.

A4E’s member airlines account for more than 70% the continent’s journeys, generating more than €100 billion ($120 billion) in annual turnover.

One of the air traffic controllers’ unions, the L’Union Syndicale de l’Aviation Civile-CGT, said the industrial action—part of a general strike affecting multiple sectors of the French economy—was to protest planned changes in French labor legislation. These, they said, would reduce the rights of workers and increase those of employers. “The government has just proposed to us in line with its predecessors an umpteenth labor law reform based on the principle that labor is a cost, while it produces wealth.” Short-term pay gains would be more than countered by long-term losses in workers’ rights, they argued.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@penton.com