French industrial action has led to the cancellation of hundreds of Balearic flights and it is far from over. | Archive

Regular industrial action by French air traffic controllers in Marseilles, whose air space all flights from the United Kingdom and Northern Europe have to pass, has led to the cancellation of at least 251 flights to and from the Balearics during the first three weeks of this month alone and this weekend, further air chaos is expected as air traffic controllers across France join their colleagues in Marseilles who went on strike yesterday.

According to Flightright, a body which defends the rights of air passengers, 151 of those Balearic flights cancelled were in Majorca, 42 in Ibiza and 22 in Minorca.

Last June, just three flights were cancelled out of Palma airport and none from any other of the island’s airports.

Passengers booked to fly back to the UK today and over the next few days as the French strike ramps up, are concerned and a number called the Bulletin for updates.

Unfortunately, all air passengers, and over half a million are going to pass through Palma airport during the five-day strike, are in the hands of French air traffic controllers after the French government proved unable to avert industrial action.

And, apart from the cancellations, 168 Balearic flights have been delayed for over three hours this month as a result of strike action, an increase of 78 percent in comparison to last June.

2,140 flights were delayed for at least 30 minutes, 51 percent more with further flight disruptions expected.

Flighright yesterday reminded passengers that, if their flights is delayed for over five hours, their airline is obliged to provide alternative transport.

If a flight is cancelled then hotel accommodation has to be provided, including transfers to and from the hotel.

And, if a short flight is delayed more than two hours, food and drink must be supplied, in the case of a medium haul flight, after three hours and on long haul, after a five hour delay. Spanish air traffic controllers are still negotiating whether to go on strikes this summer.