Airlines were again forced to cancel one in five flights on Tuesday 21 March and Wednesday 22 March at Paris Orly. In the case of a social movement, Paris Charles de Gaulle usually fares better.
New agitation looms over Paris. Due to the strike of air traffic controllers, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) asks airlines to reduce flight schedules by at least 20% on Tuesday, March 21 and Wednesday, March 22 in Paris-Orly, as well as in Marseille-Provence. As with previous social movements, the airport in the south of Paris was affected, while no disruption was planned for Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG). How do we explain this difference?
The first reason: the curfew. “Paris-Orly is the only international airport in Europe that has a curfew between 11:30 pm and 6 am,” notes Aéroports de Paris on its website.  It was decided in 1968 by ministerial decision due to the strong urbanization around the airport.
That is, rotations (takeoff and landing) are not allowed in this period of a quarter of a day. Thus, airlines have less margin to reschedule their flights. On the contrary, there are no restrictions on Paris-CDG: companies have more freedom to postpone a flight in the middle of the night.
Long Trips Are Less Affected
Another explanation: the type of flights that are operated at Orly. This airport mainly operates short and medium haul flights, ie flights serving France and Europe – the rare long haul flights serving North America and overseas territories. Along these lines, several courses are usually offered each day. When a flight is cancelled, it becomes easier for the company to put its passengers on a flight that leaves a little earlier or a little later on the same day.
On the contrary, canceling a long flight is a much greater punishment. On most transcontinental lines, only one flight per day or even every other day is provided. Thus, canceling a flight means risking blocking hundreds of travelers in Paris and on the other side of the world for one or even several days. This is why, during previous strikes, Air France suspended all its long-haul flights.