June 11 - French air traffic controllers are staging a three-day strike, grounding hundreds of flights across the country and threatening the maiden flight of Europe's newsst passenger jet, the Aiburs A350. Hayley Platt reports.
One in two flights are grounded in France as air traffic control staff start a three-day strike. They're protesting about European Union plans to open up civil air space. Unions say the "Single European Sky" policy could damage their members working conditions and endanger the public. (SOUNDBITE) (French) SECRETARY OF THE SNCTA AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL UNION PHILIPPE BIOL SAYING: "The European Commission wants to cut costs and fees which are used to finance air traffic controllers in France. As a result, aviation revenues are decreasing today and don't allow us to buy the technological tools we need to work in the future." The action has reportedly left Airbus with a dilemma. The maiden flight of Europe's newest jet, the A350, was expected to take place on Friday ahead of the Paris Air Show next week. Plans are now said to be in flux as poor weather is also forecast. Airbus is keen to fly the plane ahead of the show and possibly during it. Test pilots will have the final say over and above any strike disruption.