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Air-traffic controller strikes cause significant delays

Thousands of passengers are at risk of missing their holiday as a consequence of the ongoing European air-traffic control strikes in Portugal, Italy and France.

Some have already been affected by cancellations and long delays, but the problems are set to continue for the next two days. The strikes have been spread out, with Italian controllers taking action for four hours in the afternoon. In contrast, the Portuguese have organised two strikes, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, while the French strike on Thursday.

Airlines are expecting cancellations and delays, so they are advising passengers to check the status of their flight on their website. Ryanair has confirmed several cancellations on 29th January on its website and warns passengers to expect delays on all flights over the next few days.

British Airways has also had to cancel a number of flights between London and Milan, as well as London and Rome. Where possible, flights have been rearranged to avoid the strikes. A spokesperson for BA commented on the strikes: “We are doing all we can to minimise disruption to customers affected by air traffic control strikes across Europe. We are advising customers on short-haul services to keep checking the very latest information on our website.”

easyJet has said that all passengers affected by the strikes will be advised via email, but they can also check on the Flight Tracker page. In a statement, the airline said, “easyJet would like to reassure passengers that it will do everything possible to minimise any inconvenience for passengers."

The strikes come about as many controllers are against plans for a ‘single European sky’. If it goes ahead, national boundaries across Europe would be removed, having a significant impact on jobs. The ATCEUC, the union behind the industrial action, claims that the proposals would put “service quality at risk” as well as affecting “labour and social conditions”. While the airlines will have to provide meals and accommodation for passengers on delayed flights, the strikes emphasise the need for travel insurance.

Date Created: 30 January 2014

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