By Jonathan Davies

Easyjet says it has been forced to cancel 600 flights as a result of this week's air strikes in France.

The airline said it had to cancel 248 flights on Wednesday and 331 yesterday (Thursday).

Easyjet also said it needed to make five "rescue" flights to bring home people who have been stranded in European cities - three of those flights will be to bring schoolchildren back to the UK.

It also plans to use larger aircraft than usual on the worst affected routes to help as many people as possible get home.

An Easyjet spokesperson said the "unnecessary" strike had caused "considerable and disproportionate disruption for passengers and airlines across Europe".

Ryanair said it had cancelled 500 flights.

In a statement, the Irish budget airline said: "We again call on the EU [European Union] and French authorities to act now and prevent thousands of travellers being held to ransom by these French [air traffic control] workers."

Air traffic controllers in France organised the strike over working conditions and plan further action 16-18 April and 29 April-2 May.