Published on Thursday, June 13, 2013

Airlines warn of further flight disruption

Passengers across Europe are being warned of further delays and cancellations today following two days of strikes.

Although a third day of industrial action today (Thursday) has been postponed, airlines said flights could still be disrupted.

Thousands of European flights have been cancelled due to strikes by air traffic controllers in France, joined by European Transport Workers Federation in Belgium, Slovakia and Hungary.

Air traffic controllers are concerned that plans for a 'Single European Sky,' intended to cut travel times and costs, will adversely affect their working conditions and result in job cuts.

Air France said today that its flight schedule will "gradually be returning to normal".

"We expect to transport all our customers travelling to or from Paris and are doing our utmost to ensure this," it said.
Ryanair said it plans to operate as normal from today, but said passengers should be prepared for delays and possible further cancellations.

Ryanair's Robin Kiely said the airline was forced to cancel of 600 flights on Tuesday and Wednesday thanks to "these unwarranted strikes".

"It is high time the EU Commission stopped sitting on its hands and removed these air traffic controllers' right to strike, in the same way as ATC in the US, and many of Europe's armies and police forces, are prohibited from striking by law, to stop Europe being held to ransom by tiny numbers of air traffic controllers every summer, given it is Europe's citizens who have suffered in their thousands as a result of the selfish actions of so few." He said.

But Ryanair warned there may be some disruption in Greece later with a two-hour ATC strike planned, which could affect around 20 flights.

"But it will be nothing on the scale of Tuesday and Wednesday, which affected around 90,000 passengers," it said.

British Airways and Flybe said their flights would be operating as normal today.

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