The prospect of a “summer of disgrace” is looming after last week’s air-traffic control strike led to more than 1,000 flight cancellations across Europe, said airline association, A4E, raising the possibility that there may be another strike in Italy this month.
The strike by controllers in Brest, Bordeaux and Marseille led to flight re-routing within France, but also affected passengers travelling over France, including links from the UK, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.
“We cannot wait anymore – European and French policy-makers need to implement measures capable of minimising air traffic management disruption’s impact on travellers. Political, operational and technological solutions exist for a problem that affects the whole continent. These solutions would allow to limit the impact of such strikes on travellers and business, without questioning controllers,” fundamental right to strike”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of A4E.
The lobby group has called for solutions encompassing a compulsory minimum of 72 hours notification of participation in a strike, which should be implemented by European states where possible and practical, and an upper airspace evolution away from geographical dependency enabling European passengers to make uninterrupted journeys throughout the continent.
The strike was called by three members of the ICNA union following a failure of talks with the Directorate General for Civil Aviation (DGAC).
“After months of discussions, weeks of conciliation and multiple proposals to meet the changing demands of a contradictory Air Navigation Services Directorate (DSNA), the UNSA-ICNA deplores that the DGAC refuses to respect the protocol signed just six months ago,” said a notice on the ICNA website.
“Through this incomprehensible choice, and through a management that privileges threats over cooperation, the guiding principles of the protocol are weakened, and worse, the necessary peace at the core of the controlling organisations,” it continued.
The notice highlighted that the choice to strike had been made “to defend the conditions of work, to defend a true second choice, to defend the right to a status quo not subject to threat.”