French air traffic controllers call off their planned strike for Friday

Action threatened to disrupt Irish rugby fans planning to fly over to Nantes for team’s next match against Tonga in Rugby World Cup

Irish rugby fans planning to travel to Nantes for Ireland’s second group game against Tonga next weekend can breath a sigh of relief follow the announcement that a planned French air traffic controller’s strike, which could have seen travel plans thrown into disarray, has been called off.

Another mass walk out orchestrated by France’s largest union for air traffic controllers had been scheduled to take place on Friday with Ireland’s Rugby World Cup second group game scheduled to kick off at 9pm local time on Saturday.

Previous walkouts caused havoc for travellers and airlines across Europe with airports in and around Paris as well as Marseilles, Lyons, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and Nice worst-hit.

The strike action had been timed to coincide with the competition and was part of an ongoing series of protests against the French government’s plan to increase the pension age from 62 to 64.


However on Tuesday afternoon the French minister for transport Clement Beaune posted on the X social media platform, formerly known as Twitter, that the strike notice had been lifted and dialogue between the unions and the aviation authority will continue.

“In the context of the Rugby World Cup, the minister welcomes the lifting of the strike notice which will allow the competition to take place peacefully,” the statement said.

Mr Beaune also welcomed the “commitment made by the unions to avoid any social unrest during the major current and upcoming sporting events of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor and cohost of the In the News podcast