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Air Traffic Controller Strike in Europe to Cause Flight Disruptions

Jan 28, 2014 3:30 pm

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With cancellations across the U.S. southeast and these in Europe, it’s a good week to be flying in Asia and the southern hemisphere if you have to travel.

— Jason Clampet

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Luke MacGregor  / Reuters

Passengers queue to check in at Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport in London March 16, 2012. Luke MacGregor / Reuters


Travellers should brace themselves for disruptions to flights in Europe due to strike action by air traffic controllers.

Cancellations have already been made in preparation of action by British Airways (BA) which will last until Friday. EasyJet has also cancelled and rescheduled some flights.

BA said that, although it intends to operate as many flights as possible, “we have been forced to make some cancellations and have re-timed a number of flights to avoid the strike period.”

It advised passengers to check its website for up-to-date information concerning flights departing in the next two days.

EasyJet has cancelled some flights to Paris to pre-empt a strike by French Air Traffic Control services. Its website states: “easyJet and all other airlines operating to and from Paris airports have been requested to reduce their flying programmes by 20 per cent.

“We have therefore had to cancel a small number of services from both Paris Charles de Gaulle and Paris Orly airports.”

It has also “proactively re-timed” some flights to Lisbon and Milan Malpensa airports and said that, although it did not expect cancellations, “your flight could also be impacted by delays due to the knock-on impact of the strike action.”

The airline will update its website with live news as the strikes happen.

The action has been called by the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) in protest over the European Commission’s plans to cut costs, which it argues will raise safety concerns.

Germany’s air traffic controllers are planning to strike for one hour tomorrow, in a show of support for an expected Europe-wide strike, Reuters reported.

Nick Trend, our consumer expert, said that, while passengers would not normally get compensation for delays, they are entitled to a refund if an airline cancels their flight.

“European Union regulations require airlines to offer you either a full refund of the unused parts of your tickets, or to re-route you to your destination, as soon as possible,” he explains. “If your flight is cancelled outright you are entitled to a full refund. Some airlines may also allow you to rebook your flights for a later date at no extra cost.”

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