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Ryanair blames French ATC strike as Dublin flight to Portugal is diverted to Spain

‘To minimise disruption to passengers, Ryanair quickly arranged for a coach to transport passengers from Malaga Airport to their final destination’

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Seoirse MulgrewSunday World

Ryanair has apologised to passengers after it was forced to divert a scheduled flight to Portugal to Spain due to issues it blames on the French air traffic control strike.

A spokesperson for the airline said the flight from Dublin Airport to Faro on Friday was diverted to Malaga Airport due to issues “entirely beyond our control”.

"This flight from Dublin to Faro (16 Sept) diverted to Malaga having missed Faro Airport's curfew due to disruption from the French air traffic control (ATC) strike, which was entirely beyond our control and impacted all airlines flying to/from/over France that day,” the statement said.

“To minimise disruption to passengers, Ryanair quickly arranged for a coach to transport passengers from Malaga Airport to their final destination.

“Ryanair sincerely apologises to passengers for the inconvenience caused as a result of this unjustified French ATC strike."

One passenger wrote on social media to vent his frustration about the situation. He posted a series of tweets in the early hours of this morning.

He said the bus finally crossed the border into Portugal after 9am this morning.

“Got on a Ryanair flight to Faro and I'm in Malaga lads, you couldn't make this up,” he said.

“Morale is low, some people are only just realising we're in Spain.

“We're on a five hour bus to Portugal now and we've stopped for petrol and pee stops within five minutes. I'm never getting out of here. One bus for 157 people, good luck to everyone we left behind

“Got to the Dublin airport 12 hours ago and now I'm in a petrol station in Malaga at 5.41am, send help.

“We're doing a bus swap at the border. The new bus driver is here sans bus. I'm getting coffee.”

Ryanair and Aer Lingus are among the airlines that were forced to cancel hundreds of flights after French air traffic controllers began strike action on Friday.

France’s DGAC aviation authority had asked airlines to cut their schedules to and from France in half on Friday. It also urged passengers to defer non-essential travel.

France’s SNCTA air traffic control union is striking over pay and recruitment issues.

Air France operated only 45pc of its short-and medium-haul flights on Friday. Ryanair cancelled 420 flights, which affected the travel plans of more than 80,000 passengers.

Several flights to and from French airports and to Malaga in Spain, through Cork and Shannon, were also grounded.


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