Continued air strikes batter European transport

Areas to monitor before travelling
/ New Delhi
European air strikes
Continued air strikes batter European transport

USB says it has reached a deal in principle with Eurocontrol to prevent weeks of strikes this summer

In the midst of peak summer travel, the European travel industry continues to suffer the malice of strikes, even with high visitor numbers.
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European travel industry is on high alert for disruption from ongoing strikes throughout most parts of the continent. Air traffic control problems are predicted to be the weak point this summer, European airspace controller Eurocontrol, has warned. 

Union Syndicale Bruxelles (USB), a union which represents EU civil servants, says it has reached a deal in principle with Eurocontrol to prevent weeks of strikes this summer. While passenger-numbers resume globally to pre-pandemic levels, here are some tension-hit areas to keep a track of prior to travelling. 

The United Kingdom

EasyJet has cancelled about 1,700 flights from Gatwick airport due to concerns over air traffic control delays. According to a press statement, most cancellations are between August 4-8. Strikes at London Heathrow Airport were called off. 

According to a press statement, planned strikes at London’s Gatwick Airport have been called off after three of the four involved firms accepted new pay offers. The companies involved supply ground workers and baggage handlers to the airport and strikes would have seen considerable disruption to the transport hub at its busiest time of year. 

Strikes at Birmingham Airport were called off but a fresh round of disruption has erupted. ‘‘All out indefinite strike action will begin on Tuesday 15 August leading to cancelled flights,’’ says Unite, a union. Flights with TUI, easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Lufthansa and Emirates could be impacted as such.


Italy is exempted from any strikes in the air transport as of now, says air traffic control Enav, but it is best to keep track of any changes. Industry regulations provide a summer exemption which means there will be no air transport strikes till 5 September. 


Airport security staff at Barcelona-El Prat Airport have announced an indefinite strike starting on August 10, says the airport’s official press statement. The strikes are in protest over working conditions and wages. 

Unless averted, the walkouts are set to take place at peak times, from Thursdays through Mondays between 4-7am and 9-11am and 4-6pm. This adds in plenty of scope for security check delays, adds the statement.


Schenegen visa information website says that ground staff at Portugal’s airports have called for strike from August 5 to 6 with regards to increased pay during holidays. The walkout is likely to cause delays in checking in, clearing security and reclaiming baggage. Flight delays could also be possible. 

According to a press statement, Easyjet has cancelled 350 flights arriving to or departing from Portugal ahead of a cabin staff strike. It will be the union’s third strike since the beginning of the year.

However, Lisbon and Porto airports are likely to be minimally affected for the duration of the strike.  


Belgium-based airline Ryanair pilots in Belgium went on strike in July in response to alleged pay cuts, unfair management protocols and contract breaches. In a press statement, Belgian Cockpit Association (BECA) says that the protests shall continue till October 2024, which is when the collective labour agreement expires.

‘‘We apologise in advance to passengers planning to travel with Ryanair between now and October 2024 who may be affected by these strikes,’’ the unions said in a press release.


While Greece is not currently affected by transport strikes, wildfires on the islands of Rhodes and Corfu have led to evacuations and holiday cancellations, according to a press statement.


According to a press statement, repeated air traffic control strikes in France, related to President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the pension age, have led to delays and limited flights across the country, causing more air space congestion in Europe.

Ryanair, which has asked the European Commission to protect overflights from strike disruption, had cancelled more than 900 flights in June and the uncertainty continues, mainly due to French ATC strikes. Delays and limited flights over the country are also causing more airspace congestion across Europe, leading to further disruption. 

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