Ryanair warns holidaymakers there could be ‘meltdown’ this summer due to French air traffic strikes
- Air traffic control staff in France are set to strike again on Saturday and Sunday
- Ryanair says air traffic control strikes saw it cancel 1,000 flights just last month
- The airline says strikes and shortages could lead to misery for holidaymakers
Ryanair has warned it could be a summer of travel ‘meltdown’ due to strikes by French air traffic controllers.
The Irish carrier revealed that it had to cancel 1,000 flights last month due to walkouts by air traffic control staff as well as shortages across Europe.
Further air traffic control strikes in France are set to take place this weekend causing misery for holidaymakers as the summer season begins.
Low cost airline Ryanair has warned it could be a summer of travel ‘meltdown’ due to strikes by air traffic controllers
The low-cost airline accuses air traffic control across the continent of using ‘adverse weather conditions’ as a way of dealing with staff shortages.
And now the carrier, which is one of the largest in Europe, is calling for urgent action by the EU Commission and European Governments to step in and put an end to the disruption.
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary said: ‘Yet again this weekend, French ATC (air traffic control) will strike on Saturday and Sunday leading to hundreds of flights being cancelled, disrupting the holiday plans of thousands of passengers.
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‘Many of these flights don’t even touch France, yet they will be disruptive because French ATC requires airlines to cancel overflights while they protect French domestic routes.
‘Europe’s airlines are also suffering thousands of ATC delays/cancellations because of staff shortages especially in German and UK ATC providers.
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, pictured, said the strikes are causing misery for holidaymakers
‘These disruptions are unacceptable, and we call on the UK and German Governments, and the EU Commission to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that ATC providers are fully staffed and that overflights are not affected when national strikes take place, as they repeatedly do in France.’
And Mr O’Leary added that if the air traffic control situation is not brought under control soon, it will lead to travel chaos.
He added: ‘Europe’s ATC providers are approaching the point of meltdown with hundreds of flights being cancelled daily simply because they don’t have enough staff to deal with them.
‘The situation is particularly acute at weekends where British and German ATC providers are hiding behind adverse weather and euphemisms such as “capacity restrictions” when the truth is they are not rostering enough ATC staff to cater for the number of flights that are scheduled to operate.’
Despite the strike woes, Ryanair’s latest passenger traffic figures show a six per cent increase in passenger numbers last month to 12.5 million.
Its load factor – a measure of how well airlines fill their planes – improved to 96 per cent from 95 per cent a year earlier.
The latest strike disruption comes after Ryanair’s flight cancellation debacle last September, when more than 700,000 customers were impacted after it was forced to scrap flights over mismanaging pilots’ annual leave.
In May, the group reported a 10 per cent rise in full-year profits to 1.45 billion euros (£1.3 billion) in spite of last autumn’s flight cancellations.
The annual results showed revenues jumped eight per cent to 7.15 billion euros (£6.3 billion) for the 12 months to March 31.
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