Ryanair has criticized EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for failing to protect EU citizens and visitors’ right to freedom of movement during the recent French ATC strikes. The strikes have led to the cancellation of over 627,000 Ryanair passengers’ flights in the first three months of 2023, disrupting passengers’ travel plans and diminishing intra-European connectivity.
Ryanair suggests that there are measures that could be put in place to protect passengers’ rights without impeding on French ATC unions’ right to strike. These measures include protecting French overflights during ATC strikes, allowing other ATCs to manage flights over France, mandating that French ATC unions engage in binding arbitration before calling off strikes, and mandating advanced notification of strike participation.
Ryanair believes that French unions should exercise their right to strike without closing the entire upper French airspace, as ATC unions in Spain, Italy, and Greece do by protecting overflights. The airline believes it is unfair that internal French flights are protected under Min. Services Legislation, but EU citizens’ overflights from other countries are cancelled.
Ryanair is calling on EU passengers to sign its Protect Passengers: Keep EU Skies Open petition and demand that the EU Commission and President von der Leyen take immediate action to protect their rights as EU citizens.
A spokesperson for Ryanair said:
“Today, French ATC are striking for the 38th day in just 3 months with thousands more EU passengers having their flights to see friends and family unfairly cancelled at short notice. While we have no difficulty with French unions exercising their right to strike, we do expect President von der Leyen to do her job and defend and protect EU citizens/visitors’ fundamental right to the Freedom of Movement, which she and her College of Commissioners have inexplicably failed to do.
It is completely disproportionate and unfair that the French Govt can use Min. Services Legislation to protect internal French flights but force the cancellation of flights over France. President von der Leyen should protect EU citizens/visitors on non-French flights overflying French Airspace from Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK and Ireland. The EU’s Single Market for air travel and overflights should not be repeatedly cancelled because the EU Commission fails to take action.
Ryanair is calling on EU passengers to join our call on President von der Leyen and sign our Protect Passengers: Keep EU Skies Open petition to demand that the EU Commission take action to protect their rights as EU citizens.”