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Half of France's scheduled flights cancelled amid strike

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Half of flights Tuesday were cancelled amid a three-day strike by French air-traffic controllers. Some 1,800 flights from Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais airports near Paris as well as Lyon, Nice, Toulouse, Marseille and Bordeaux were affected.

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Half of all French flights were cancelled on Tuesday amid a three-day strike action launched by air-traffic controllers to protest against EU plans to centralise control of European air space.

Some 1,800 flights from Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Beauvais airports near Paris as well as flights in Lyon, Nice, Toulouse, Marseille and Bordeaux were affected, the Civil Aviation Authority said.

The strike was launched in opposition to European Union plans to centralise control of EU air space to eliminate duplication across the bloc’s 27 countries.

Unions fear the plan will cost jobs and reduce pay for air traffic controllers. They have called more strikes in other EU countries on Wednesday.

EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas called Tuesday for the speedy implementation of the centralisation plan, as the current system’s inefficiencies are costing airlines and customers some €5 billion ($6.6 billion) annually.

French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier said that France and Berlin are seeking a postponement of the plan.

Cuvillier said that both he and his German counterpart, Peter Ramsauer, had asked the European transport commissioner to “delay this type of liberalisation” at the European summit at the end of June.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

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