French air traffic controllers have ended a two-day strike that was supposed to run until the weekend after talks with the government, unions said.

The strike, which stranded hundreds of passengers, was called off after the government recognised the "importance of investment in the sector," said the Unsa-ICNA union.

Ryanair has said it expects to operate a normal service tomorrow.

Holidaymakers and business travellers today experienced a second day of severe disruption to flights because of the strike.

26 Ryanair flights into or out of Ireland were cancelled today.

These included flights to and from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to destinations including France, Spain and Portugal.

Hundreds of Irish passengers were stranded after their flights were grounded yesterday, the first day of the six-day strike.

Ryanair said it was forced to cancel nearly 250 flights and was requested by French authorities to cancel up to a fifth of its journeys for today to ease the pressure on French air traffic services.

A spokesperson for Ryanair said 3,000-4,000 of the airline's Irish passengers were affected by yesterday's disruption. 

Aer Lingus said passengers travelling to France, Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands experienced delays of up to four hours yesterday.

French air traffic controllers staged the industrial action to protest against planned cuts that they say would harm air traffic control services in France.

Brussels Air Traffic Control shut down Belgian airspace for two hours from 5.45pm-7.45pm Irish time this evening due to strike action.

The closure forced the cancellation or delay of about 120 flights, half of them arrivals, the remainder departures.

The strike was called by a single trade union to protest budget cuts due to a Europe-wide reform of the air traffic control system.

The Association of European Airlines strongly condemned "this unjustified industrial action which holds the entire industry to ransom during one of the busiest passenger traffic weeks of the year".

Ryanair said it has cancelled or postponed eight flights as a result of the action, none to or from Ireland.

Management at Cork Airport said the delays caused by the strike are not significant, averaging approximately 45 minutes.