A protester holds a Brittany flag next to a fire during clashes at a demonstration as part of the tenth day of nationwide strikes and protests against French government's pension reform in Paris, France, March 28, 2023. REUTERS/Nacho Doce | NACHO DOCE

Industrial action by French air traffic controllers could cause chaos for tens of thousands of Britons heading to the Balearics and the rest of Spain, not to mention France, this Easter and over the school holidays.

French air traffic controllers are preparing to walk out every day next month, in a move that will disrupt thousands of passengers flying between Britain and Spain, because flights use France’s airspace for transit.

Ryanair has already been forced to ground 230 flights last week because of French strikes over the pension age increase, and a further 120 flights this week, according to The Times.

Airlines have to compensate passengers for long delays or cancellations under European passenger laws but are unable to recover penalties from air traffic authorities when airspace is blocked.

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Tension between airlines and French controllers has been a recurring issue but escalated this year as the controllers joined strikes over planned changes to the retirement age.