(CNN) — Hundreds of flights have been canceled and thousands of passengers have been forced to change their plans when French air traffic controllers protested for wages on Friday.
Europe’s largest airline, Ryanair, grounded 420 of its flights across Europe as the 24-hour strike affected connections from airports across the continent. Rival budget carrier EasyJet warned of serious delays and disruptions.
Members of France’s Syndicat National des Contrôleurs du Trafic Aérien, or SNCTA, the country’s main traffic controllers’ union, began strikes at 6 a.m. Central European Time (00:00 a.m. ET) Friday. The outage is expected to continue until Monday.
The union called for action after negotiations with the government stalled over wage increases in line with inflation.
“After several months of negotiations to get fair and appropriate answers, SNCTA … regrets the lack of concrete elements and guarantees from government agencies,” it said in a statement.
French aviation authorities warned that up to 50% of flights could be affected by the strike.
Horacio Villalobos/Corbis News/Corbis/Getty Images
Paris Aéroport, owner and operator of 14 civilian airports and airports in the Île-de-France (Paris) area, warned on Thursday of “significant” delays and cancellations in arrivals and departures.
Many flights flying over French airspace were also affected. The Barcelona Airport departure board showed more than 50 delayed or canceled flights on Friday afternoon. In Germany, Hamburg Airport said 48 of the 251 flights on that day had been canceled by 12 noon local time and further delays and cancellations were possible.
Earlier this week, France’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation warned that up to 50% of the country’s flights could be affected and urged passengers to contact airlines and postpone travel.
The SNCTA has said a strike scheduled for September 28 could go ahead.
Disruption was also expected on Monday as London Heathrow airport said some flights would be canceled or postponed to keep the skies quiet during events to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral.
CNN’s Arnaud Siad and Peter Taggart contributed to this story.