Alitalia air transport employees gather for a protest rally March 20 at Rome’s Fiumicino airport.
Airlines for Europe (A4E) warned that a four-hour Italian air traffic control (ATC) strike on March 20 was expected to cause more than 500 cancellations, flight delays and “extensive rescheduling.”
“Just days after a week of disruption in France, this new strike will see hundreds of thousands of European citizens and businesses taken hostage by localized industrial action, again,” A4E MD Thomas Reynaert said.
A4E reiterated its call for passengers to sign a petition, calling for regulators to take action. “There are solutions available which would limit the impact of such strikes on travelers and business, without questioning controllers’ fundamental right to strike—we just need courageous policymakers in Europe to help implementing them,” Reynaert said.
In a statement released March 17, Alitalia said it had been forced to cancel nearly 40% of domestic and international flights and upsize capacity on routes because of the ATC strike, as well as another Italian air transport sector strike also planned for March 20.
“On the same day [as the ATC strike], CUB Trasporti trade union (together with USB union only in Milan airports) have also confirmed a 24-hour air transport sector strike. Flights set to operate during the peak times between 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. will operate as scheduled,” Alitalia said.
Meanwhile, Air France said it expected to operate all its long-haul flights, 92% of mid-haul flights and around 92% of domestic flights on March 20, as the French flag carrier enters the third day of a cabin crew walkout.
“The flight schedule operated by Air France aircraft will be slightly disrupted,” the airline said. “However, there may be last-minute cancellations and delays. Difficulties with crew sizing may also limit the number of passengers per flight.”
Only around 30% of Air France’s cabin crew is expected to be working March 20.
Air France added that its Paris Orly flights are back to normal after a “security incident” at Paris Orly airport on March 18, where an attacker was shot dead by police after threatening passengers and assaulting a security patrolwoman.
Victoria Moores email@example.com