French air traffic controllers walked off the job at the start of a three-day strike on Tuesday (June 11), grounding hundreds of flights across the country.

The action is part of a Europe-wide protest against European Union plans to liberalise civil airspace.

One in two flights to airports serving Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse and Bordeaux were cancelled, France's DGAC civil aviation authority said.

Workers are concerned EU plans for a "Single European Sky" will adversely affect their working conditions.

The secretary of the SNCTA air traffic control union, Philippe Biol, said that their members were worried about how the cuts would affect the future of their industry.

The strike is part of a wider European action that, outside France, mainly involves a go-slow.

Air France said it was cancelling an unspecified number of short- and medium-haul flights.

One traveller at the Charles de Gaulle airport just outside Paris said her flight had been rescheduled.

Preparations for the maiden flight of Europe's newest passenger jet, the Airbus A350, were also affected by fallout from the strike, French transport sources said on Monday.

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