23rd July 2015

Why you need to sign the ‘Keep Europe’s Skies Open’ Petition

You need to sign it because it might just help put a stop to Air Traffic Control unions going on strike and causing flights all over Europe to be cancelled, ruining you and your family’s travel plans.

Over just two days in April of this year, over 3,600 flights all over Europe were cancelled because of strikes held by Air Traffic Control (ATC) Unions in France. That’s hundreds of thousands of people, all over Europe, who couldn’t get where they needed to go.

Sign the petition now


These are people who were heading off on their one big holiday of the year – or trying to get home, with no idea how or when they would get back. People going to job interviews, to see loved ones, to be present at their family or friends’ weddings and funerals. The personal cost to the people left stranded is simply not acceptable.

One very small group should not be able to wreak havoc on the whole of Europe. Of course ATC Unions should have the right to organise and advance their valid concerns, but when a few dozen people decide to strike in the height of summer, disrupting hundreds of thousands of people’s hard-earned holidays, it’s tantamount to blackmail.

The petition asks that either Air Traffic Control be treated as the critical service it is (meaning that strikes are not allowed), or that when the ATC unions strike, other European ATCs can manage flights over French Airspace. You can read about it in more detail here.

Sign the petition, and Keep Europe’s Skies Open


Fiona Hilliard

Fiona Hilliard

A love of new cultures is what drives Dublin travel writer Fiona Hilliard to explore the cities of Europe and beyond.


  • Michael Scott

    It is very important to stop the Air Traffic Controllers Strikes because it results in people missing their holidays and Aircraft being in the wrong positions for example a Aircraft being still in Spain at the time the Aircraft is due to be in Leeds to operate a UK to France route. It also results in people getting stuck at the Airport when they are due to fly on their holidays. We need the skies free for all the Airlines to fly Airliners to fly people to their European destinations and to operate flights with no strike threats across Europe. Hope a successful outcome is reached to avoid future Air Traffic Controllers strikes.

    23rd July 2015 at 8:23 pm
    • Heather

      It frequently appears to be the French Air Traffic controllers who enjoy disrupting our flights over France at the busiest times. Yes, they should be stopped!

      18th September 2015 at 6:18 am
      • Tristan

        Actually it doesn’t only concern our ATC’s, but like the whole french workers.

        We gave power to these syndicates ( CGT, Fo, etc ) for they were useful a century ago, but nowadays they’re just a cancer in my country as they litteraly block everything for any reasons.
        And there’s no option for any dialogues with these guys ( ironically they were formed in order to install a dialog between industriall boss and their workers ), they are stubborn af and they’re acting like “everything or a strike” so France is regularly amputated by a part of its services ( like today f.e. : common transports, trains, planes, electricity, fuel, etc ).

        26th May 2016 at 12:46 pm
        • Tonleijn

          very good answer, tot the syndicates; they are not longer required

          4th July 2016 at 9:46 am
  • Bartolo

    I hope this succeeds. It doesn´t require much in the way of comment to see why these people must be stopped…

    5th October 2015 at 3:47 am
  • Denis O'Sullivan

    Strikes are an anachronism but are endemic
    In the French. Many French support strikes regardless of the inconvenience believing it is there heritage since their revolution. Those that do not believe keep quiet or earn their living elsewhere. The French government seem powerless & will give in. Prevention of strikes should have consequences for unions relevant to the damage they inflict on others.

    18th October 2015 at 8:28 am
  • Marcel Bost

    VALENCIA To Dusseldorf

    26th October 2015 at 3:23 pm
  • Thomas Woolley

    Who bears the cost of refunds to customers and who covers the loss in revenue to the airline operators ? In a sane society this would be borne by the striking union. That would soon put a stop to this irresponsible activity. The damage these people do to their own country is immense and should be dealt with by the French Government.

    19th May 2016 at 3:55 pm
  • peter

    The French ATC and in fact all ATC are extremely well paid in 1981 Ronald Regan sacked 11000 ATC personnel and since then air traffic runs smoothly in the USA perhaps the same should happen in France. Normal people who for example do not have un sackable work contracts are sick and tired of scheming self seeking people like this. No wonder France is not able to balance the books!

    19th May 2016 at 4:04 pm
  • Andrew Lumb

    Both you and all your family members need to sign the petition, how much longer are we prepared to let the French and their spineless politicians disrupt other peoples travel plans, like they do with trucks carrying FREE TRADE to or through France, the next thing they will be burning plans on the tarmac!!!!

    22nd May 2016 at 8:48 am
  • Rich

    I understand that they are at it again now in France – with a threat for tomrrow 26th May and 3-5th June. The days I am due to fly out and return

    25th May 2016 at 2:02 pm
  • Roger

    This petition is an excellent initiative ; French ATC have announced yet another strike for 3rd to 5th June inclusive.
    I suggest ALL European Airlines and airports encourage their customers to sign this petition. Under EU petition rules 1 million signatures are required with a minimum from each of at least 7 countries. The minimum numbers of signatures for each selected country is also specified.

    27th May 2016 at 12:41 pm
  • Frank

    I recently had a flight cancelled from France to Dublin, which apart from inconvenience also incurred additional cost. The French unions rule France and hold the country to ransom. Doing untold harm to the economy, I sincerely hope the petition works and the EU does something positive to stop the strikes.

    27th May 2016 at 3:54 pm
    • Nigel

      And simply because there is a proposal to increase their retirement age from 57 to 59. They should be ‘Space’ rather than ‘Air’ Traffic Controllers since it’s clear they are not of our planet.

      1st June 2016 at 1:56 pm
  • Marie

    I’ve signed the petition after having a flight to Nice cancelled after a 5 hour wait at the airport. The latest strike by ATC in France caused thousands of people like me frustration, disappointment and unecessary distress. Not only people flying to France but anyone flying south of England were affected. I’d happily boycott France until they improve their disgraceful reputation for constant disruption to travel by striking at ferries, fuel, air traffic control, trains etc.

    15th June 2016 at 11:56 am

    Take action like Pres R Regan,not alone did he sack all ATC on STRIKE but they lost their job but they would not get a job with any goverment agency’ RESULT no ATC ever think of STRIKE for the last twenty yearsAnthony Roche

    17th June 2016 at 9:17 pm
  • Di

    It’s tine something is done about these idiotic ATCs. Ruined thousands of people’s plans yet again.

    22nd June 2016 at 5:08 pm
  • stephanie

    How strange they chose 23rd June…Referendum day.

    23rd June 2016 at 7:42 pm
  • Hans van Loon

    Third delay (and one cancellation) thanks to one country where people are on strike. The skies should be free and not dependending on a few people who think they can take hostage of thousands or millions of people who want to spent their well earned hollidays. FREE THE SKIES!!!!

    24th June 2016 at 2:44 pm
  • Eileen

    Tomorrow’s flight to France cancelled (at least we knew before spending 3 hours getting to Stansted) and next available flight not until Saturday – 4 days later! Really fed up with French ATCs and also dock workers who stopped our ferry crossing earlier this year. This ATC thing has been going on for years – why can’t the Government sort it?

    27th June 2016 at 3:53 pm
  • phil

    What a Country for strike and disruptions France. Our Son lives in Nantes and we try to visit as often as we can. It has now become a joke between us as they say to us , if you are coming for a visit don’t come on a Tuesday or Thursday, but sometimes the best Air Fares are available for a Tuesday or Thursday flight. On a more serious note our sons business in Nantes is badly affected by the disruptions on a Tuesday or Thursday, more often than not they have to close on both days which is a disgrace. As for the riots nearly every week in Nantes, something serious needs to be done to rectify this.

    28th June 2016 at 7:35 am
  • Terry Cordery

    I live in France,near Bergerac airport where in highh season they have a maximum of 10 commercial flights a day. ATC are threatening another strike citing stress and overwork . Unbelievable !!! I. suggestthey should try working at Heathrow or Gatwick.

    25th July 2016 at 9:50 am

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