LONDON – Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has once again called on the European Commission to offer urgent protection for flights being affected by the French ATC strikes which are taking place from Jan 30 17:00 until 01:00, February 1.
Failure To Protect Airlines and Passengers
Ryanair has said in a press release that the EU commission under Ursula von der Leyen has repeatedly failed to protect Europe’s single market for air travel by allowing the planned overflights of French airspace to be hijacked by yet another French ATC strike.
The airline has said that this has caused once again unnecessary disruption to the travel plans of EU citizens from the likes of Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK.
In addition to this, due to the ATC strikes being outside of Ryanairs control customers who have been left stuck over these strikes are not eligible for compensation.
Thousands of flights were cancelled and hundreds of thousands of passengers saw their travel plans ruined summer of last year, when French ATC went on strike, with the knock-on effect taking days to recover passengers who had been left stuck at their departure airports from all the cancellations.
Ryanair said it has already been forced to cancel a small number of flights to/from France today (January 31) as a result of what the airline is referring to as “pointless ATC strikes”.
It has also advises all passengers travelling over the period of planned strikes to check with the airline on the status of their flights before travelling to the airports.
Comments From Ryanair
Ryanair’s Neal McMahon said: “It is inexplicable that the EU Commission continues to sit on their hands and ignore the widespread impact that these French ATC strikes have on EU passengers who are not even travelling to/from France, while the French Govt use their minimum services policy to protect French domestic flights for French citizens.”
“Ryanair once again calls on the EU Commission under Ursula Von Der Leyen to take immediate action to protect European citizens travelling from the likes of Ireland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and the UK whose travel plans will be needlessly disrupted today (31 Jan) due to the EU Commission’s repeated inaction to protect overflights when French ATC go on strike.”
“Protecting overflights during ATC strikes in individual member states, as they do in Greece and Italy, is the most simple and effective solution to avoid unnecessary mass disruption and should be immediately implemented by the EU Commission to prevent the needless disruption of ATC strikes last summer being repeated in Summer ’23.”
Frustration For Airlines Continues
Ryanair will not be the only airline affected by the French ATC strikes, with British Airways, easyJet and a countless list of carriers constantly being affected by the strike action being taken.
The question now becomes why the European Commission has not intervened, as it has done in other countries before.
French airspace is one of the most important links for European flights heading to North America, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
It is likely now with these new calls from Ryanair to once again have them take time to at least protect overflights might engorge them to look at the situation once again, and perhaps now take steps to ensure this cannot happen again.