easyJet, one of Europe’s largest low-cost carriers, has recently announced that they have had to cancel 1,700 flights over the period July, August and September.
The reason for the cancellations is due to what the company have explained as “air traffic controller delays”. The cancellations will mostly affect easyJet’s London Gatwick traffic.
easyJet becomes the latest known airline to proceed with mass cancellations due to air traffic control-disruptions in European airspace, something leading low-cost carrier Ryanair also has been greatly affected by through the air traffic controller strikes in French airspace.
Mass cancellations – easyJet is up
easyJet becomes the latest known low-cost airline to proceed with mass cancellations of flights due to constrained airspace over Europe and ongoing air traffic control difficulties.
The airline cited congestion in the skies caused by the closure of Ukrainian airspace due to Russia’s war and potential strikes by air traffic controllers as contributing factors, aviation24 has reported.
easyJet has therefore proceeded with cancellations of 1,700 flights in a three month period consisting of July, August and September.
The company has however confirmed it will be operating over 90,000 during the period, and that the affected passengers have been or will be rebooked onto alternative flights. So far, the cancellations will mostly affect the London Gatwick operations of easyJet.
Ryanair – ATC disruptions cause trouble
As mentioned, easyJet becomes the latest carrier to experience troubles and mass cancellations due to Air Traffic Control disruptions; however, one other major low-cost airline sticks out in this specific matter – Ryanair.
An AviationSource recent report of Ryanair’s disruptions show the troubles date back to June 8, where the company was forced to cancel a further 400 flights due to the French Air Traffic Controller strikes which severely affected inbound and outbound traffic – all except for domestic hops.
Though only 400, this makes a low number even higher if we look at the mere total of cancellations.
At the time, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary commented on the affected week’s flight cancellations saying: “Again today, we have had to cancel just about 400 flights out of the 3,200 flights we had scheduled to operate.”
“All of these flights have been cancelled because of French ATC strikes. The vast majority of these flights are overflights and not going to France.”
The airline has collected more than 1.1 million signatures from fed-up passengers demanding that the EU Commission protect overflights and EU citizens’ freedom of movement during repeated ATC strikes.
In the past 5 months of 2023, from June 8, there had been 58 days of ATC strikes (over 11 times more than in 2022).
These repeated ATC strikes have unfairly forced airlines to disproportionately cancel thousands of EU overflights from Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK and Ireland.
In a statement this week the airline said that “France in particular, uses Minimum Service Laws to protect their domestic/short-haul flights while cancelling overflights. This is unfair.”
“France (and all other EU states) should use Minimum Service Laws to protect overflights during ATC strikes as they do in Greece, Italy and Spain.”
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