• France's news in English
French to Ryanair: 'We don't care about your profits'
Ryanair's chief executive Michael O'Leary is not a big fan of French air traffic controllers. Photo: AFP

French to Ryanair: 'We don't care about your profits'

The Local/AFP · 14 Apr 2016, 17:24

Published: 14 Apr 2016 17:24 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

A representative of the leading French air traffic controllers union told The Local that safety and not Ryanair’s profits were their priority after recent complaints from O’Leary that his airline’s takings had nosedived by millions thanks to strikes in France.

“What matters to us is how secure the air traffic control system is in France,” Stephane Lonni, from the SNCTA union, told The Local. “Besides, Ryanair’s profits have never been higher.”

“The fact that there have been over 40 strikes in France is a symptom of a problem that clearly has not been resolved.

“In France we have some of the oldest equipment to work with and a serious problem with a lack of staff,” he added.

“We don’t want to strike. We prefer to find a compromise. It’s a last resort that will we use if we have to.”

Unions' main beef is with a fall in the number of staff that is placing ever greater pressure on the controllers at a time when the amount of air traffic continues to rise and aviation security is a major concern.

The Irish no-frills airline forecast this week a hit of between €10 million and €20 million ($11.4 million and $22.8 million) in the fourth quarter of its financial year, or three months to March 31st.

French air traffic controllers justify 42nd strike since 2009

While part of that drop was due to the Brussels terror attacks, O’Leary said the strikes in France have played a key role.

O'Leary was scathing of the frequency and "cynical" timing of industrial action by air traffic controllers in France during peak holiday periods which, he said, caused untold inconvenience to passengers across Europe.

"The last strike ten days ago had nothing to do with air traffic controllers at all; they just don't like the new social legislation being produced by the French government," he said.

"That's fine but don't strand everybody else across Europe," he added, reiterating his call for a ban on air traffic controller strikes.

Ryanair wants the public to join their campaign, "Keep Europe’s Skies Open", which was launched last year. With enough support they claim they can force Europe to take action against the French.

Story continues below…

“O’Leary is a provocateur and he is just trying to turn the public against us,” said Lonni. “he tries to make us to out be like spoiled children.”

“A lot of the public don’t understand we have to take action. They are just concerned about their holiday being ruined,” he said.

“We know we will be unpopular. It’s a complicated situation and we try to explain to people why we have to strike, but they don’t understand.”

With SNCTA and other unions still battling with French aviation authorities over their grievances O’Leary can expect his profits to be hit even further and passengers around Europe can expect more disruption.

The Local/AFP (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Millionaire Riviera hotel boss kidnapped in broad daylight
The city of Nice where the millionaire was bundled into a car infront of shocked onlookers. Photo: AFP

The millionaire head of a luxury hotel in the French Riviera resort of Cannes was kidnapped in front of shocked onlookers in the middle of the day on Monday.

Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available