RYANAIR PETITIONS EU TO SORT OUT ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ IMPACT OF FRENCH ATC STRIKES
Ryanair has called on the EU to protect travellers by enforcing minimum service laws during the French air traffic controllers’ strikes, and has petitioned the European Commission to encourage change.
French air traffic controllers have joined the hundreds of thousands of workers in staging protests against president Macron’s decision to increase the retirement age from 62 to 64. Expected to last until Thursday (23 March), the disruption will mainly impact overflights as French laws protect domestic services.
The low-cost carrier launched a petition on Monday (20 March) calling on EC president Ursula von der Leyen to allow foreign air traffic controllers (ATCs) to manage flights passing through France’s airspace. It has also urged Brussels to mandate that French unions engage in “binding arbitration” processes before laying down tools.
“While we respect the right to strike, it is completely unacceptable that Europe’s passenger flights that overfly France are repeatedly delayed or cancelled by French ATC strikes,” said Ryanair DAC chief executive Eddie Wilson.
“So far in 2023, more than one million EU passengers have faced unnecessary delays/cancellations as a result of 14 separate French ATC strikes, with zero action taken by Ursula von der Leyen’s commission to protect them,” he continued.
The petition will be submitted to the commission once it reaches one million signatures, the airline confirmed. “After all, if the EU won’t listen to its airlines, perhaps they’ll listen to millions of Europe’s passengers instead,” he added.
This is not the first time Ryanair executives has blasted the EC for not having a firm hand. Group chief executive Michael O’Leary told Irish politicians in December that visitors were “being completely screwed while a bunch of French air traffic controllers go on strike.”
“It is bizarre that Europe’s free movement of people across Europe in a single market is allowed to be threatened by the French every time they have these recreational strikes, which they have frequently in the summer,” he told members of the Irish transport committee
Source: TTG media.com