The nationwide strike, over proposed cuts to aviation, was timed to coincide with the summer holiday season and a June 30 deadline for the French government to present its five-year aviation budget plan to the European Commission. The Commission seeks an overhaul of the parceling of flights, dividing Europe's airspace into blocks according to traffic volume and flow, which they claim will be more efficient than respecting national borders.
The strike action was approved by over 60 percent of France's 4,000 air traffic controllers.
The two largest air traffic controllers' unions in France, SNCTA and Unsa-ICNA, warned of "heavy disruption" to flight schedules. At least 50 percent of flights to and within France are expected to be canceled.
"As a result of industrial action by air traffic controllers in France, we are expecting disruption to some of our services between Tuesday and Sunday," British Airways announced in a statement, adding the level of disruption is expected to vary over the six days of the strike.