Uncertain horizon: a 24-hour strike by aviation workers in Italy will affect a wide range of airlines
Uncertain horizon: a 24-hour strike by aviation workers in Italy will affect a wide range of airlines

Italian airport strike to ground hundreds of flights on Tuesday

Chaos continues for airline passengers in Europe


Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Monday 20 May 2019 14:24

A miserable summer for airline passengers is set to continue on Tuesday, when aviation workers in Italy will be striking for 24 hours.

Airport, airline and air-traffic control staff are stopping work in a coordinated move in disputes over pay and conditions.

Alitalia, the national airline, has cancelled half its flights for 21 May, together with some flights scheduled for the late evening of Monday and the early morning of Wednesday.

More than 300 departures have been grounded. The carrier is hoping to operate all flights during the peak times between 7-10am and 6-9pm, Italian time.

Six flights on Tuesday between London City and Milan have been grounded along with four flights between Heathrow and Rome, and a single round trip between Heathrow and Milan Linate.

In addition, the first Wednesday morning departure from Heathrow to Rome is cancelled.

The Italian airline said: “Alitalia has taken special measures to mitigate customer inconvenience by operating bigger aircraft on domestic and international routes.”

Passengers holding tickets on flights that have not yet been cancelled are urged to check before travelling to the airport.

The UK’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, has cancelled 30 flights to and from Italian airports on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the airline said: “Although this is outside of our control we would like to apologise to customers for any inconvenience and would like to assure them that we are doing all possible to minimise any disruption as a result of the industrial action.

“We recommend to all customers departing from an Italian airport on Tuesday 21 May to allow extra time to pass through airport security as queues may be longer than usual.”

A British Airways spokesperson said: “Like other airlines, we could be impacted by industrial action taking place throughout Italy on Tuesday, which may result in a small number of flight delays or cancellations beyond our control.

“We are monitoring the situation and encourage all customers to provide contact details in their bookings so that we can keep them up to date with the latest information regarding their flights.”

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After the suspension of many flights from Manchester on Sunday afternoon and overnight, airlines have already collectively suffered losses running into millions of pounds for lost revenue and passenger care costs.

Airlines for Europe, representing major European carriers, has called for affected airlines to be able to claim costs caused by strikes from bodies such as airports and air-traffic control organisations that employ the staff who take industrial action.

“The lack of such a viable redress option is a fundamental discriminating concept of the current passenger rights regulation,” said the managing director, Thomas Reynaert.

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