Europe 1 with AFP 18:34 p.m., March 24, 2023

The SNCF plans for this weekend an improvement on the main lines. On the Ile-de-France rail network, train traffic will improve significantly, with lines C and R remaining the most disrupted with 1 train out of 2. Civil Aviation is demanding the cancellation of 33% of flights on Sunday at Paris-Orly.

The SNCF plans for this weekend an improvement on the main lines, the TER and the Paris suburbs, including 3 TGV out of 4 in circulation, on the 19th and 20th days of a renewable strike against the pension reform. SNCF Voyageurs plans to maintain Friday three-quarters of TGV Inoui and Ouigo, half of Intercités and three-quarters of TER, a spokesman told AFP on Friday. No night trains will run, and traffic will be "normal or near-normal" for Eurostar and Thalys.

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Normal service on the RER A Sunday

On the Ile-de-France rail network, train traffic will improve significantly, with lines C and R remaining the most disrupted with 1 train out of 2. At the same time, the management plans to run 2 out of 3 trains on average on lines J and L, 3 trains out of 5 on lines D and N (Saturday), as well as 3 trains out of 4 on RER A (Saturday) and line N (Sunday). Service will be normal, or almost, on RER A (Sunday), B and E, as well as on lines H, K, P, U, T4, T11 and T13.

Still in Ile-de-France, the RATP expects normal traffic except on its part of the RER A Saturday, where it should be "almost normal" according to a spokeswoman. The railway unions have called for a strike that can be renewed since March 7, until the government withdraws its pension reform. They called on Friday to "maintain the pressure by the strike, to join the interprofessional actions organized in the territories and to go on strike massively on (Tuesday) March 28", for the next day of national action against the reform.

33% of flights cancelled Sunday at Paris-Orly

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has asked airlines to give up 33% of their flights Sunday at Paris-Orly airport, and 20% Monday, because of the strike of air traffic controllers against the pension reform. These preventive cancellations will also affect Sunday 20% of flights to Lyon-Saint-Exupéry and Marseille-Provence. At the latter airport, airlines will also have to cancel 20% of their schedule on Monday.

The DGAC relayed these instructions in "Notices for air missions" (Notam), official information channels for companies, published on one of its websites Thursday evening. To match flight volumes and the number of air traffic controllers at their posts and avoid even greater disruptions, the DGAC had already required carriers to give up 30% of their flights at Orly on Friday, then 15% on Saturday.

Nearly eight out of ten flights operated between Paris-Orly and the province, says Air France

In addition, one in five flights will be canceled in Marseille-Provence, Bordeaux-Mérignac and Lyon-Saint-Exupéry, both Friday and Saturday. In repercussion, Air France indicated that it would be able to provide "nearly 8 flights out of 10 between Paris-Orly and some French airports" from Friday to Monday. Neither long-haul flights nor those departing or arriving from Paris-Charles de Gaulle will be affected, according to the company. However, it warned that "last-minute delays and cancellations are not to be excluded" and stressed that its customers "affected by cancelled flights are notified individually".

Its sister airline, the "low-cost" Transavia specializing in short and medium-haul, has planned to cancel nearly 60 flights in total from Friday to Saturday. It has not yet released its forecast for Sunday and Monday. Beyond airports, work stoppages by air traffic controllers also affect the En route de la navigation aérienne (CRNA) centres, which manage aircraft outside the take-off and landing phases, and transit through French airspace. They therefore have repercussions on all European traffic.

Most major French airports experience relatively contained delays, less than half an hour on departure or arrival Friday morning, according to the DGAC's online dashboard. Exceptions with delays of almost 50 minutes from Toulouse-Blagnac and three quarters of an hour on arrival in Bordeaux and Basel-Mulhouse, are noted. "Significant delays" also affect aircraft transiting through the areas covered by the CRNA of Reims and Marseille, noted for its part the pan-European air traffic surveillance body, Eurocontrol.