FLIGHTS to France and southern Europe face major disruption this weekend as French air traffic controllers stage a two-day strike over job cuts.

The two-day industrial action, confirmed earlier today[fri], will see walkouts at five French airports on Sunday and Monday.

Severe disruption is expected at Paris Orly, Paris Beauvais, Lyon, Nice and Marseille airports, with around 20 per cent of flights cancelled in line with advice from France's civil aviation authority, the DGAC.

Air traffic control staff at Reims and Bordeaux airports are also taking part.

However, there are no plans to reduce flights at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, one of Europe's biggest hubs.

In a statement, the DGAC warned passengers to expect "disturbances throughout the country" and advised them to check with their airline before travelling.

The strike, called by Unsa, the third largest union for air traffic controllers, protests against "the decision to accelerate the reduction of the workforce".

The union says is unrealistic considering the "operational needs of control centres".

Easyjet said it was cancelling a number of flights and would contact affected passengers via text message.

In statement, the airline said: "Like all airlines, our flights to and from French airports, as well as those flying in French airspace, could be affected.

"We are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of the strike on our customers, and have taken the decision to proactively cancel a number of flights, allowing customers to reorganise their journeys.

"We will communicate to affected customers directly via SMS using the details provided at the time of booking.

"For cancelled flights, any affected customers will be offered a free of charge transfer to a new flight or a full refund. We strongly advise customers to avoid re-booking flights on those days [March 20 and 21], as there is the possibility of further disruption."

Ryanair also confirmed 20 flight cancellations for flights on Sunday, although none were flights to or from the UK.

Details for Ryanair flight cancellations on Monday have not yet been confirmed, but the airline said customers would be notified of any change to their flight via text message or email.

In a statement, the Irish carrier said: Ryanair sincerely apologises for any delays or inconvenience caused by these disruptions which are outside of our control.

Passengers will not be eligible for delay compensation because industrial action is considered an "extraoridinary event".

Tjitze Noordehaven, the chief operating officer at compensation specialists, EUclaim, said that British holidaymakers are likely to face further travel misery this summer, if previous strike patterns are repeated.

He said “If the French unions follow their strike patterns of 2014, we are likely to see further action in May and June, spoiling summer holidays.”

Over the course of just two days in June 2014, there were 1030 delays or cancellations caused by French air traffic control strikes.