Ryanair
Ryanair has called for the European Commission to take action against French ATC unions.Reuters

Ryanair saw a sharp increase in passenger numbers in June, despite having to cancel a number of flights on the back of industrial action by air traffic controllers (ATC) in France.

Last month, the Dublin-based carrier flew 10.6m passengers, an 11% year-on-year increase, while its load factor rose from 93% to 94%. The load factor is a key gauge in the aviation industry, as it measures the number of seats that have been filled on each plane.

"These record monthly numbers and load factors were delivered [...] despite the repeated disruptions caused by unacceptable French ATC strikes," Ryanair's chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said on Tuesday (5 July).

"We are again calling on the European Commission to urgently take action to reduce the impact of these ATC strikes on Europe's citizens and the single market,"

The budget airline was forced to cancel 102 flights that were scheduled for Tuesday, as French ATC go on strike for the 13th time in the last 14 weeks and for the 53rd time in the last seven years. In June, French unions revealed the planned industrial actions would specifically aim to disrupt plans of passengers going on holiday in France or flying into the country for the European Championship.

Ryanair said approximately 18,000 passengers will be left grounded on the day, while another 100,000 could experience delays or disruptions to their travel plans.

"These unacceptable French strikes have become weekly events by now, aimed at causing maximum disruption for families and business passengers, which is why we are calling on the European Commission to take action to prevent these ATC strikes from disrupting the travel plans of Europe's citizens and their families," Jacobs added.

"The recent Brexit vote underlines that the EU Commission must begin to deliver real benefits for Europe's consumers, and show families and holiday makers that Europe is on their side and will not allow a small group of French ATC unions to repeatedly close the skies over Europe."