Ryanair called on the French Government and European Commission to take swift action to prevent travel disruptions or holidays cancellations as a result of strikes by French Air Traffic Control unions scheduled from Monday, 25 January to Wednesday, 27 January, which are the 40th strike action by French Air Traffic Controllers since 2009.
French strike 1800UTC today – 0500UTC Wednesday. We now understand that the impact tomorrow may be extensive. https://t.co/GWpS17xulQ— EUROCONTROL (@eurocontrol) January 25, 2016
Ryanair has since announced the cancellation of a large number of its flights on its website and on Social Media.
Due to a French ATC strike (26 Jan) we regret some flights are cancelled. View flight info & rebooking options here: https://t.co/Fvmj9gnkcN— Ryanair (@Ryanair) January 25, 2016
On Monday 25 January, Ryanair issued a strong statement asking for action by the European Commission and European Parliament to take action “to prevent these ATC strikes causing mayhem for Europe’s consumers.”
The airline pointed out that this would be the 40th ATC strike in France since 2009, and would “again result in thousands of flights being cancelled and hundreds of thousands of consumers having their flights cancelled and/or delayed.”
“It’s disgraceful that Europe’s consumers repeatedly have their holiday and travel plans disrupted or cancelled by the selfish actions of ATC unions, who use strikes as a first weapon rather than a last resort. French ATC unions plan to strike from tonight
until Wednesday morning – their 40th strike since 2009 – which will impact hundreds of thousands of European consumers and throw their travel plans into chaos,” says Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs
To urge action by the European government, Ryanair has launched a Keep Europe’s Skies Open online petition, “offering European consumers the opportunity to join its call to protect Europe from repeated blackmail and disruption by ATC unions.”
Ryanair proposes that the European Commission and European Parliament take action to:
1 – Remove the right to strike from Europe’s ATC unions, in the same way that Europe’s various police and military forces are not allowed to strike. In the USA, ATC unions are prohibited by law from striking. European ATC workers can still join unions, organise and advance their concerns through mediation or binding arbitration, which will not involve strikes or closing Europe’s skies.
2 – Allow other European ATCs to manage flights over French airspace during ATC strikes, which would minimise cancellations and disruptions for Europe’s consumers who need to cross over French and Spanish airspace.
Ryanair hopes to raise one million signatures in this EU wide petition, which it can present it in Brussels and “urge the EU Commission and the EU Parliament to finally take action.”
“It’s high time the French Government, European Commission and European Parliament took action to prevent Europe’s families and ordinary air travellers having their hard earned holidays or travel plans regularly disrupted by these ATC unions closing the skies over Europe. If the EU won’t listen to the airlines, perhaps they’ll listen to Europe’s citizens,” says Jacobs.