APRIL 26TH, 2016

A4E: New air traffic control strike hits 1 million minutes delay mark

- Last strikes caused over 2,000 flight cancellations.
- German airport ground staff strike will add further travel chaos
- EU must act now to defend travellers

Air traffic controllers (ATC) in Europe won’t give a breather to European passengers. Just two weeks after the last walkout in Belgium, French air traffic controllers for the third time in a month will leave their towers ditching consumers and causing further chaos to the travel plans of millions of European travellers for at least 35 hours from tomorrow evening. This will be the 44th strike day in France since 2009 and it will see hundreds of flights being cancelled creating disruption and extensive delays across the continent.

“During 2016 ATC strikes in Greece, Italy, Belgium and now again in France accumulated already up to a full week of disruption. Repeated and disproportionate industrial action by ATC unions just means victimising passengers and weakening European airlines. We will not stop to call on the European Commission and the governments to act immediately to defend consumers”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of A4E.

The negative impact of ATC strikes on European Aviation is a key issue for A4E airlines and their passengers.

“We are progressing in our talks with stakeholders to launch an action plan to minimise strike effects on both local traffic and overflights. But now we are also facing substantial industrial action on the ground as well. Tomorrow’s strike in Germany is another nightmare for passengers travelling through Europe and a good example that binding arbitration should be introduced”, he added.

The latest ATC strikes in Greece, Italy, Belgium and France in March and April caused over 2,000 cancellations among the A4E members and will now hit the 1 million minutes delay mark (more than 16,000 hours) across all airlines operating in European airspace.

Last year, more than 10,000 flights operated by A4E members were affected by 28 days of ATC strikes in Europe causing unjustified disruptions to millions of passengers.

At its launch in January this year, A4E highlighted its position on improving European Air Traffic Management. The key aims are: delivering reliable and efficient airspace by reducing the cost of ATC provision through completion of the Single European Sky and better economic regulation at EU level; ensuring that the disruption caused to passengers across Europe by ATC strikes is minimised; using new technology to make efficiency savings; and using SESAR funding to drive compliance with the Single Sky framework.