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Published on Monday, November 25, 2019

Passengers face delays and cancellations as strikes hit Italy and Finland

Passengers flying from the UK to Italy are facing severe delays and cancellations as air traffic controllers prepare to strike later today.

In addition, many Finnair flights in and out of Helsinki have been grounded today as aviation labour union IAU workers walk out in support of a strike organised by the country's postal service.

Staff at ATC centres at Brindisi, Milan, Padua and Rome - which control all of Italy's airspace and zones across the central Med - and staff who work in control towers at Ancona, Brindisi, Perugia, Pescara and Rome Ciampino will walk out between 1pm and 5pm local time.

Alitalia flights to Heathrow and London City have been affected, while British Airways has cancelled flights between Rome and Heathrow, Gatwick and London City; Heathrow-Milan Linate and Gatwick-Venice.

EasyJet and Ryanair have also cancelled flights, or, like, have delayed them until the strike finishes.

Finnair said it expects its Heathrow services to operate as normal, however, many long-haul services and flights between Helsinki and Manchester have been affected.

This support strike will have 'major impacts' on Finnair flight operations, the airline said, with vital services at Helsinki-Vantaa airport - such as ramp handling, fuelling, catering and maintenance - being affected.

Finnair cancelled 26 services on 24 November, ahead of the industrial action, and expects to cancel nearly 260 others today - about two-thirds of the 377 planned.

The cancelled flights include both short-haul European links and a number of long-haul services, including those to San Francisco, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok.

Finnair chief operating officer Jaakko Schildt says the knock-on effect of the postal strike is affecting 20,000 of the airline's customers.

"We are doing our best to mitigate the impacts to them," he said. "We are working to find suitable re-routings for customers impacted by this, but re-routing such a large number of customers unfortunately takes some time."

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