A multi-day strike by French air traffic controllers in the Brest and Bordeaux area control centers (ACC) will affect traffic in and around France beginning 6 March at 0500 UTC through 10 March 1900 UTC. The strike will additionally include controllers from the Marseille ACC from 07 March 0500 UTC to 10 March 0500 UTC. During the strike, traffic that normally transits the ACCs and some traffic to and from airports in the sectors will be affected.
Avoiding French Airspace
Previous strikes by French air traffic controllers have resulted in longer flight times for flights avoiding French airspace. For instance, British Airways flight BA470 normally operates directly between London and Barcelona, but during a previous strike in March 2016, BA470 and many other aircraft avoided French airspace by taking advantage of the ‘Tango routes’ off the western coast of France in the Shanwick FIR. The average flight time for BA470 is 1 hour 36 minutes, but the alternative routing added 1 hour 15 minutes, lengthening the flight to nearly 3 hours.
Flights departing from southern Germany, Switzerland, Italy and other airports east of France often fly south through Tunisian and Algerian airspace to avoid restrictions in the Marseille FIR as the fly to Spain, Portugal, or the
The Three Tango Routes
The ‘Tango routes’ allow flights to navigate around French airspace, albeit with a time penalty due to the increased distances involved. To mitigate the effects of the strike some airlines, like British Airways, have decided to up-gauge certain flights, making use of larger aircraft to ease congestion.
To learn more about oceanic airspace operations, the ICAO European and North Atlantic Office offers the North Atlantic Operations and Airspace Manual (opens in PDF).
The full text of the NOTAM regarding the strike.
F0330/17 NOTAMN Q) LFXX/QAFXX/IV/NBO/E /000/999/4525N00006W525 A) LFFF LFRR LFBB B) 1703060400 C) 1703062100 E) DUE TO A STRIKE WITHIN FRENCH CIVIL AVIATION SERVICES, SOME IMPORTANT DISTURBANCES WILL AFFECT FRENCH ATS, AIS AND COM SERVICES
1- A MINIMUM SERVICE WILL BE ENSURED IN BORDEAUX LFRR AND BREST LFRR. ACTUAL ATC CAPACITY WILL BE DETERMINED ACCORDING TO AVAILABLE STAFF.
2- AIRCRAFT OPERATORS ARE REQUESTED TO REDUCE FOR THIS PERIOD THEIR INITIALLY SCHEDULED FLIGHT BY 25 PER CENT IN PARIS-ORLY (LFPO), PARIS-CDG(LFPG) AND BEAUVAIS (LFOB) GLOBALLY FOR FLIGHT TO/FROM SOUTH AND WEST (ALL AIRPORTS IN LFRR AND LFBB FIR AND AIRPORTS HAVING ICAO CODE STARTING WITH LE, LP, GC, GM, DA, DT)
3- AIRCRAFT OPERATORS ARE REQUESTED TO REDUCE THEIR INITIALLY SCHEDULED FLIGHTS BY 25 PER CENT ON ALL AIRPORTS IN BORDEAUX FIR LFBB GLOBALLY
4- AIRCRAFT OPERATORS ARE REQUESTED TO REDUCE THEIR INITIALLY SCHEDULED FLIGHTS BY 33 PER CENT ON ALL AIRPORTS IN BREST FIR LFBB GLOBALLY
5- TERRITORIAL CONTINUITY FLIGHTS ARE NOT CONCERNED BY THIS REQUEST
6- AIRCRAFT OPERATORS SHALL SEND IMMEDIATELY REMAINING PROGRAM AND CANCELLED FLIGHTS TO DGAC/DTA BY MAIL TO: DTA-PROGRAMMES-CRISES-BF(AT)AVIATION-CIVILE.GOUV.FR
7- FLIGHT PLANS EXCEEDING THOSE LIMITATIONS COULD BE REJECTED
8- AIRCRAFT OPERATORS MUST SYSTEMATICALLY CANCEL ALL PLN, RPL OR FPL FOR THE FLIGHTS NOT CARRIED OUT RMK:INFORMATION ON REAL TIME SITUATION WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THE FOLLOWING INTERNET WEBSITE HTTP://DSNADO.CANALBLOG.COM