European air-traffic control strike hits travellers

Two days of action means flight cancellations have already begun

Thousands of airline passengers are likely to face cancelled flights and long delays over the next two days in the latest round of strikes by Europe’s air-traffic controllers.

A “consolidated day of action” takes place tomorrow, with Italian controllers taking industrial action for four hours during the afternoon and their Portuguese colleagues staging two separate strikes at breakfast time and in mid-afternoon. Across Europe, the action continues for 48 hours, with French air-traffic controllers striking on Thursday.

British Airways has cancelled eight flights on Wednesday between London and Milan, and six between London and Rome. The airline has re-timed some other departures to avoid the strikes. BA is also putting large aircraft on some of the services that will be operating. easyJet has rescheduled a number of flights, and is warning that passengers could “be impacted by delays due to the knock-on impact of the strike action”.

The controllers are unhappy about EU plans for a “single European sky,” which would remove national boundaries over the continent and reduce staffing. The ATCEUC, which is coordinating the action, says the proposals will “lead unequivocally to the worsening of labour and social conditions … and consequently putting the entire safety chain and service quality at risk”.

Airlines are responsible for providing meals and, if necessary, accommodation, for delayed passengers.

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