HomeTravel NewsRyanair Renews Call for EU Action on French ATC Strikes Following Weekend...

Ryanair Renews Call for EU Action on French ATC Strikes Following Weekend of Delays and Cancellations

Ryanair has reiterated its call for EU president Ursula Von Der Leyen and the European Commission to protect the EU Single Market for Air Travel after more flights were disrupted over the past weekend due to strike action by air traffic control (ATC) workers in France.

Ryanair said more than 25% of its 9,000 flights this past weekend were delayed – and 230 were cancelled, affecting directly 41,000 passengers – due to French ATC action.

Last year, Eurocontrol recommended the Commission take modest action to respond to ATC strikes (without affecting the right to strike) as follows; 

  • Impose ATC minimum service requirements with a clear reduction of domestic flights
  • All overflights allowed with no ATC delays
  • Minimum advance strike notice to allow airlines to reschedule flights or advise passengers

“Sadly, to date, the EU Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen have failed to take any action on these measures to protect EU citizens and overflights,” Ryanair said.

Ryanair EU
Ryanair last week opened a petition urging passengers to vent their fury towards the EU

A spokesperson for Ryanair said:

“Ursula von der Leyen and the EU Commission repeatedly claim that the Single Market is a priority for Europe. In negotiations around Brexit, the Single Market was the EU Commission’s priority. However, every time French ATC goes on strike, the Single Market for air travel over Europe is disrupted, yet the EU Commission sits on its hands taking no action.

“When the French Government uses Minimum Service Legislation to protect French flights, why does Ursula von der Leyen and the EU Commission stand idly by and allow EU overflights to be disproportionately cancelled on a daily basis? We call on the Commission to take legal action against France and its ATC unions, to protect EU overflights. Innocent EU passengers travelling from Germany to Spain, or from Ireland to Italy, are entitled to rely on the EU’s Single Market for air travel, and their overflights should not be repeatedly cancelled because the EU Commission fails to take action to defend the Single Market.

“Europe’s Single European Sky (SESAR) project has been a 20-year catalogue of failure. No progress has been made in two decades. Eurocontrol has already recommended that the Commission take legal action to protect overflights, and it is about time that Ursula von der Leyen and her Commission stopped hiding and started acting to defend the Single Market for air travel across Europe. We have no difficulty with French unions exercising their right to strike, but we expect the European Commission to defend and protect the Single Market, and not have it repeatedly shut down or EU overflights cancelled just because French ATC unions engage in these recreational strikes.”

Geoff Percival
Geoff Percival
Geoff has worked in business, news, consumer and travel journalism for more than 25 years; having worked for and contributed to the likes of The Irish Examiner, Business & Finance, Business Plus, The Sunday Times, The Irish News, Senior Times, and The Sunday Tribune.

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