Published on Monday, March 6, 2017

Airlines repeat call for ATC strike ban

Airlines have renewed their campaign to urge the French Government and the European Commission to ban strike action by air traffic controllers in light of a five-day walk-out this week.

ATC workers at some French airports have confirmed a strike which is set to impact flights to and from France and to other destinations reached via French airspace.

Around 1000 flights are expected to be cancelled and many other services delayed due to the action planned from today (Monday).

"Already during the first weeks of 2017 European travellers become victims of yet another ATC strike - unbelievably, not only for a day but for a whole week," said Thomas Reynaert, managing director of European airline lobbying group A4E.

"We cannot allow a small group of Europe's 15,000 air traffic controllers restricting the rights of millions of European travellers. Following our Call for Action last year we have seen a positive reaction by some unions. It is now the right moment to build on that and minimise the impact of strike actions without questioning the individual right of workers to take industrial action."

Air passengers are being to sign an online petition, Keep Europe's Skies Open, which has been set up by A4E.

In March 2016, strikes by French ATC staff caused nearly 600 delays and cancellations from UK airports, affecting around 85,500 passengers.

"Typically the strike action is taking place mid-week," said Tjitze Noorderhaven, UK manager of flight compensation firm EUclaim.

"French ATC receive double pay on a Sunday, so they try to avoid weekends wherever possible. I can only think of one strike action in the last year, which has fallen on a Sunday,"

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