Ryanair is to petition EU President Ursula von der Leyen for better protection for European airline passengers from repeated strike action called by French-based air traffic control (ATC) workers, which have been causing widespread flight cancellations and delays.
Ryanair said in a statement that “following repeated inaction by the EU Commission under Ursula von der Leyen, who have failed to take action to protect EU passenger flights during French Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes, Ryanair is now calling on EU passengers to sign its ‘PROTECT PASSENGERS – KEEP EU SKIES OPEN’ petition, and join its call on the EU Commission to protect passengers by protecting overflights during French ATC strikes.”
The airline has said it will submit its petition to the EU Commission when signatures top the 1 million mark.
Ryanair DAC chief executive Eddie Wilson said: “While we respect the right to strike, it is completely unacceptable that Europe’s passenger flights that overfly France are repeatedly delayed or cancelled by French ATC strikes. So far in 2023, more than 1,000,000 EU passengers have faced unnecessary delays/cancellations as a result of 14 separate French ATC strikes, with zero action taken by Ursula von der Leyen’s Commission to protect them.
Mr Wilson said: “Despite multiple unanswered calls on the EU Commission to protect passenger flights by keeping the EU skies open during French ATC strikes, Ryanair has launched an EU wide petition to ‘PROTECT PASSENGERS – KEEP EU SKIES OPEN, where passengers are asked to support our call on the EU Commission to take action to protect Europeans and their families and their travel plans during French ATC strikes, which have become an almost weekly occurrence. After all, if the EU won’t listen to its airlines, perhaps they’ll listen to millions of Europe’s passengers instead.”
As there is currently no EU reg to protect flights over French airspace during French ATC strikes, Ryanair said it and its 168 million passengers demand that the EU Commission take the following measures:
- Protect French overflights during ATC strikes (using min services laws) as they do in Greece, Italy and Spain
- Allow Europe’s other ATCs to manage flights over France while French ATC are on strike
- Mandate that French ATC unions engage in binding arbitration before calling of strikes