Peace and tranquility returned to most of Palma airport yesterday, apart from British passengers, as French air traffic controllers ended their 26-hour strike at 8am. Palma airport chiefs said that by 2pm, 80 per cent of flights were landing and taking off on time and that only ten per cent were delayed by an average of 30 minutes. But the remaining ten per cent, all of which were flights inbound and outbound to Great Britain, 15 in total, were delayed by at least 80 minutes. However, by yesterday evening, the airport authority said that all flights were back on schedule. Airport bosses also said that air traffic was relatively quite yesterday afternoon and that allowed Palma air traffic controllers to clear the backlog of delayed flights. The industrial action was sparked by French demands for assurances that the single European sky idea would not allow private companies to compete with state services in air traffic control. Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio said the strike was based on a misunderstanding of her ideas. She said there had been no suggestion that the sector be opened up to competition or privatised. Palacio said the EU was seeking better co-ordination between the EU's patchwork of air traffic control systems and more flexibility between civilian and military airspace.

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