French air traffic control plans to totally overhaul its outdated system (first developed in the 1970s) in January and February 2024. The planned changes come as a result of rapid growth in air traffic.
Around $1 billion will be invested to improve France’s air traffic control system, allowing the system to handle more flights and operate more efficiently. The operation to overhaul the system is so large, it’s estimated about 80 percent of the system will be upgraded.
As a result, January and February 2024 will prove tricky for travelers flying into, out of and within France. An estimated 16,500 flights will be canceled, particularly between Jan. 9 and Feb. 14 at airports in and around Paris. Airlines have been advised to reduce the number of flights taking off and landing at Paris (CDG), Paris-Orly (ORY), Le Bourget (LBG) and Beauvais (BVA) by 20 percent. These disruptions could affect journeys across Europe, not just within France.
Between these dates, the new system will be tested at the air traffic control center in Athies-Mons.
So, which flights will face cancellation as the system undergoes an upgrade? Air France intends to cancel certain short- and medium-haul flights, more than 4,200 in total. Air France stated they will offer passengers on canceled flights transfers to different flights on the same day.
The new software has already been installed at air traffic control centers in Reims and Aix-en-Provence. The largest test of the new system’s success will come after its work in Athies-Mons.
After being tested over a six-week period in January and February, the new system plans to officially roll out in November 2024.
Travelers with booked flights to France in January and February 2024 should check with airlines to receive updates on status. While most flights impacted will be short- and medium-haul flights, travelers planning trips to and within France should visit airlines’ official websites. At time of reporting, long-haul flights are not expected to be impacted, as they will be prioritized.
Do you have an upcoming trip planned to France? Will these disruptions affect your travels? Tell us your thoughts. Email us at [email protected]. Please include your full name and location.
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