Ryanair Passes 1.1m Petition to EU

Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource

This week, Europe’s largest low-cost carrier, Ryanair, delivered its 1.1m signed petition to the EU Commission for overflight protection.

This article will cover the details surrounding the overflight protection petition that Ryanair has passed over to the EU Commission in the wake of recent ATC strikes.

Ryanair Gives 1.1m Petition to EU Commission

Photo Credit: James Field/AviationSource

On May 31, 2023, Ryanair has passed over its more than 1.1m passenger-signed petition over to the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s office titled ‘Protect Overflights: Keep EU Skies Open’.

These signatures have come from passengers that are unhappy following multiple layers of flight disruption in the wake of the recent Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes across Europe’s skies.


Between January and May 2023, there has been a total of 57 ATC strikes alone, which is 10 times the amount that the European aviation sector saw in 2022. The strikes happened across Germany, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France.

Ryanair goes into specific details surrounding the French ATC strikes stating that the country uses Minimum Service Laws to protect its domestic/short-haul services but disproportionately cancels overflights. As opposed to Spain, Italy and Greece which all use their Minimum Service Laws to protect overflights during ATC strikes.

The Irish LCC has called upon the EU Commission to act on this petition demanding that all EU States must protect overflights in the event of ATC strike action in line with the following actions –

  • Respect the strike rights of ATC unions but protect 100% of overflights.
  • If ATC strikes require cancellations, allocate these to domestic/short-haul services.
  • Enforce binding arbitration for ATC disputes before strike action is taken.
  • Provide a 21-day notice of any ATC strike actions.
  • Require a 72-hour notice for employee participation in ATC strikes to minimise disruption to passengers.

Executive Comments

Ryanair Group Chief Executive Officer, Michael O’Leary has commented on their EU Commission petition saying, “Today, just 10 weeks since we launched our ‘Protect Overflights: Keep EU Skies Open’ petition, we delivered over 1.1 million signatures from fed-up EU citizens calling on the EU Commission under Ursula von der Leyen to protect overflights during repeated ATC strikes.”

“It is unacceptable that ATC strikes can result in the cancellation of thousands of EU passengers’ flights, while France and other EU Member States use Minimum Service Laws to protect their domestic flights.”

“Europe’s passengers are sick and tired of suffering unnecessary overflight cancellations during ATC strikes. The EU Commission must now act upon the petition of more than 1.1 million EU citizens and insist that all states protect overflights during national ATC strikes as is already done in Greece, Italy and Spain.”

By Jamie Clarke 3 Min Read
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