Ryanair, has again issued a pressing call to action for Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the EU Commission, to address the ongoing issue of air traffic control (ATC) strikes.
So far in 2023, there have now been 67 days of ATC strikes, and the recent surge has passengers across the European Union grappling with significant disruptions, leaving them stranded and frustrated.
EU Commission’s Inaction Sparks Outcry
Despite over 2 million EU passengers signing Ryanair’s “Protect Passengers: Keep EU Skies Open” petition, the EU Commission has remained silent, failing to acknowledge the growing discontent.
The lack of response raises concerns as passengers face continuous disruptions during ATC strikes, undermining their freedom of movement.
2023: A Turbulent Year for EU Air Travel
This year alone has witnessed an alarming increase in ATC strikes, reaching a staggering 67 days – a 13-fold surge compared to 2022.
Countries like Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, and the UK have borne the brunt of cancellations, while France implements Minimum Service Laws to safeguard local flights.
The imbalance in protection measures leaves international overflights at a disadvantage, creating an air travel inequality.
Ryanair’s Call to Action
Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, emphasizes the urgency of addressing the issue. O’Leary urges Ursula von der Leyen to take specific actions to mitigate the impact of ATC strikes:
- Respect the strike rights of ATC unions
- Protect 100% of flights overflying strike-affected countries
- Require 21-day advance notice of ATC strikes
- Require 72-hour advance notice of participation in ATC strikes
O’Leary highlights the unjust circumstances faced by passengers, emphasizing the need for a fair distribution of cancellations during national strikes.
The plea is not against the right to strike but urges the EU Commission to ensure that cancellations primarily affect flights within the striking nation, not those merely overflying.
An Urgent Need for Resolution
As the 67th day of ATC strikes unfolds on December 18th, passengers are once again left grappling with disrupted travel plans.
Ryanair underscores the urgency for action, urging Ursula von der Leyen to respond promptly to the petition signed by over 2 million EU citizens.
EU Commission ‘Ignoring the Masses’
Despite delivering the petition directly to the EU Commission offices in both May and September, President Ursula von der Leyen has yet to act.
The silence is seen as a disregard for the concerns of over 2 million EU passengers who seek a resolution to the ongoing disruptions, says Ryanair.
“EU 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 2m EU passengers’ signatures.”
“There is no excuse for EU passengers not flying to/from the affected member state to bear the burden of national ATC strikes that are completely unrelated to them.”
“Ursula von der Leyen must immediately put a stop to this or answer to the 2m passengers who she has failed to protect, by offering her resignation,” said the airline in today’s statement.
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