Southampton Airport passengers delayed as European strikes take hold

The mechanical issue also led to a disturbance yesterday. Picture: Wightlink

Wightlink cancels 12 Portsmouth ferry services for Wednesday amid ‘mechanical issues’

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HOLIDAYMAKERS have been left stranded at airports after French air traffic controllers continue a three-day strike today.

In France, around half of all flights to major cities have been cancelled, and others are subject to delay.

Southampton Airport is urging passengers flying to the continent to check with their airline for the latest information.

All flights to Rennes and Nantes airports were cancelled this morning, leaving between 200 and 300 passengers waiting at the airport.

A flight to Dublin was also delayed by four hours after the plane was held up in France.

Joanne Quint, spokeswoman for Southampton Aiport, said: ‘There have been a few flights subject to cancellation or delay, but we’re working with the airlines to ensure passengers are not delayed where possible, and that they are being looked after.

‘The situation is changing all the time, so the advice we are giving passengers is to contact their airline for the latest updates on the their flights.’

One member of staff, who did not want to be named, said: ‘There has not been one angry passenger at the airport today, everyone has been fine.’

Some Air traffic controllers working from the National Air Traffic Services site in Whiteley have joined in the Europe-wide protest, by travelling to London to present a petition to the Department of Transport.

The row centres on the Single European Sky project, which will mean costs are slashed and jobs lost in air traffic control across the continent.

The European Commission, which drafts EU laws, estimates that inefficiencies in the way Europe’s air traffic is managed add 62 miles to the average flight.

It wants to centralise air-traffic controls, rather than leave each member state to monitor its own skies. The commission says this could triple the region’s airspace capacity, cut costs and reduce delays.

Air traffic controllers in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Slovakia are set to join in the strikes today or hold other industrial action.

n Have you been affected? If so, contact our reporter Emma Judd on (023) 9262 2132.