Ryanair present petition of 1.1 million people to the EU for protection of overflights
A petition from Ryanair signed by a total of 1.1 million EU passengers has been delivered to the European Commission, demanding that overflights are protected from air traffic control (ATC) strikes, especially in France, to help avoid travel disruption.
This is not the first time that airlines have urged the EU Commission to take more action to minimize the impact that strikes cause on travel, especially ahead of the peak summer season.
Ryanair says that ATC strikes in European countries this year have pushed airlines to disproportionately suspend many overflights from Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as the UK and Ireland.
They are blaming aviation authorities in France for prioritizing the protection of domestic and short-haul flights rather than overflights during days that have strike action.
According to the airline, overflights are already protected during ATC strikes in several EU countries, including Greece, Spain and Italy, and is calling for this policy to be applied across all EU Member States.
“If this means that a greater number of domestic or short-haul flights are cancelled, then so be it, but flights over France must be protected during French ATC strikes,” said Ryanair in a statement.
Ryanair Group CEO, Michael O’Leary, says it is unacceptable that ATC strikes can result in the suspension of a large number of flights in EU countries, while France as well as other EU countries use minimum service laws in order to protect their domestic flights.
“Passengers are sick and tired of suffering unnecessary overflight cancellations or delays during ATC strikes. The European 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,” he said.
The airline is urging the Commission to protect 100% of overflights while requiring a 21-day notice of strike action as well as a 72-hour notice of employee participation in strikes of ATC, among others.
At the same time, the commission stressed that it was cooperating with EU Member States in order to assess whether and how service continuity for overflights could be improved when strikes are called.
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