French ATC strike on Sep 16

By David Mumford

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Update 16 Sep:

  • As expected, high delays across France today for the ATC strike. For real-time updates of airport closures and airspace issues keep an eye on this French ATC webpage as well as the Eurocontrol NOP page.
  • For westbound NAT crossings heading over the central Atlantic (rather than the NAT Tracks up north) Shanwick has advised operators to file via BEDRA or PASAS in order to best avoid all the extra traffic on the Tango routes.
  • Beyond today’s misery, the French ATC union is also threatening to strike for an additional 3 days, from Sep 28-30…

Update 15 Sep:

Eurocontrol have published their Mitigation Plan for the French ATC strike, which will run for 24hrs starting at 0400z on Sep 16. The prognosis isn’t good:

  • High delays expected across pretty much all French airspace
  • Some airports will be regulated pre-tactically (all the Paris airports, LFML/Marseile, and more)
  • The Tango routes will be busy
  • There’s more info on the alternate routings through Switzerland, the GCCC/Canaries FIR, Algeria, and Tunisia.

Update 14 Sep:

The French CAA has asked airlines to halve their flight schedules on Friday, Sep 16, due to a planned strike by air traffic controllers. They warn that travellers can expect “flight cancellations and significant delays” everywhere in France.

The ATC strike starts at 0400z on Sep 16 and runs for 24hrs, and will involve all French ACCs and airports. It also includes French overseas territories, so expect an impact at the likes of NTAA/Tahiti, SOCA/Cayenne, TFFF/Martinique, TFFR/Pointe a Pitre, FMEE/La Réunion, and FMCZ/Mayotte airports as well as those in France.

Here’s the Notam:

F1438/22 (Issued for LFBB LFEE LFFF LFMM LFRR)
DUE TO A NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL ACTION AFFECTING ALL DSNA AIR TRAFFIC SERVICES, 
MAJOR DISRUPTIONS ARE EXPECTED IN ALL DSNA ATC CENTERS (ACCS, APP, TOWER) IN 
FRANCE AND OVERSEAS DEPARTMENTS. A MINIMUM SERVICE WILL BE ENSURED IN 5 ACCS 
AND IN THE AIRPORTS IDENTIFIED IN THE DECREE NUMBER 85-1332 MODIFIED OF 
DECEMBER 17,1985. ACTUAL ATC CAPACITY WILL BE DETERMINED ACCORDING TO AVAILABLE STAFF.
RMK1: AIR OPERATORS MUST CANCEL THEIR COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS PROGRAMS BY 50 PER CENT 
BASED ON THEIR NUMBER OF MOVEMENTS ON EACH OF THE FRENCH AIRPORTS WHERE DSNA IS 
IN CHARGE OF ATC SERVICES BETWEEN FRIDAY 16/09 04H00 UTC AND SATURDAY 17/09 04H00 UTC
RMK2: FLIGHTS THAT ENSURE TERRITORIAL CONTINUITY ARE EXCLUDED FROM THE REDUCTIONS
RMK3: AIRCRAFT OPERATORS MUST SYSTEMATICALLY CANCEL ALL PLN, RPL OR FPL FOR THE 
FLIGHTS NOT PERFORMED.
RMK4: INFORMATION ON THE REAL-TIME SITUATION AND CLOSURES OF ATS SERVICES WILL BE 
AVAILABLE ON THE FOLLOWING INTERNET WEBSITE : HTTPS://CDM.DSNA.FR 
CONSULT THE LIST OF AIRPORTS UNDER DSNA RESPONSIBILITY AND THOSE BENEFITING FROM 
THE MINIMUM SERVICE IN THE CRISIS MESSAGES TAB
RMK5: ADDITIONAL NOTAMS WILL BE SENT IF NEEDED DEPENDING ON THE EVOLUTION OF 
THE SITUATION.
16 SEP 04:00 2022 UNTIL 17 SEP 04:00 2022.
CREATED: 13 SEP 13:07 2022

What’s the impact?

In the Eurocontrol teleconference on Sep 14, managers said they expect en-route regulations will be applied across all sectors – which means big delays pretty much everywhere.

If this strike follows a similar pattern to previous ones in France, we expect big delays at the major airports and for overflights, and busy Tango Routes with traffic avoiding French airspace in the west.

LFMT/Montpellier airport will likely be closed throughout, and some other smaller airports may be forced close at some point: LFMP/Perpignan, LFMU/Beziers, LFBZ/Biarritz, LFRB/Brest, LFRN/Rennes, LFQQ/Lille, LFOB/Paris Beauvais.

If you can avoid France during this period, do so.

Can I fly through Algeria and Tunisia to avoid French airspace?

Algeria will let you fly through their airspace without special permission if you want to avoid French airspace

  • Westbound: file via LUXUR at FL300 or above, only even FLs.
  • Eastbound: file via SADAF at FL310 or above, only odd FLs.

Tunisia will allow overflights too, but only on the following routes, otherwise you’ll need an overflight permit:

  • Westbound: file via DOPEL-LUXUR at FL310 and above.
  • Eastbound: file via SADAF-KAWKA-DOPEL at FL300 and above.

If you’re routing through Algeria/Tunisia, just make sure to add the right AFTN codes on flight plans! That means – as well as filing your FPL to the normal Eurocontrol addresses, you must also include those for Algeria (DAAAZQZX and DTTCZQZX) and Tunisia (DTTVYAYX and DTTVYAYF) – and make sure these are included for any subsequent DLA messages as well.

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David Mumford

David Mumford

OPSGROUP Helmsman of the B's: Blog, Bulletin, and Briefs. Question for us? Write to blog.team@ops.group.

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