In recent news, the A4E called upon the EU and other stakeholders to work on an action plan that would end air strikes that paralysed France and the rest of Europe the previous month. It is estimated that over a 1000flight delays had taken place, along with several flight cancellations, as a result of these strikes. According to certain reports, the overall delay was valued at 500,000 minutes.
Large number of disruptions
European aviation services had already been experiencing a wide number of disruptions for over ten days due to previous strikes. With the addition of the recent strike organized by French air traffic controllers, the situation took a turn for the worse. The travel plans of over a million Europeans were ruined with passengers having to wait for over 36 hours to receive some sort of closure on the issue.
It is understood that this is the 43rd air strike in France since 2009. The current strike had led to the cancellations of several scheduled flights and many extended flight delays.
Easter plans affected
According to Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director of the A4E, the French ATC Union strikes had affected the travel plans of several people, especially during the Easter week. He added that passengers did not deserve such treatment and that it was unjustifiable to put them in such a position. He further called upon the European Commission to defend the rights of the passengers.
The ATC strikes and their impact on European Aviation is a major issue for A4E, as well as their customers. Reynaert, in his statement, added that A4E was putting in efforts to develop a plan of action that would reduce the adverse effects of the strikes with regard to both, international and local traffic. He further added that in order to make the plan of action work, they would need assistance from the European Commission. He suggested that the European Commission must take the lead in establishing a European Aviation Strategy without causing any further anguish to passengers and that it must be done on priority.
Reynaert also mentioned that A4E recognizes the fundamental right of people to organize strikes, but, not at the cost of a million or more passengers and their travel plans. In 2015, over 10, 000 flights operated by A4E members were cancelled or delayed due to a similar 28 day strike organized by ATCs across Europe.
The A4E, which came into being at the start of this year, made it clear that it would work towards bettering European Air Traffic Management. Its key objectives include providing a reliable and efficient airspace by minimizing the cost of ATX provision via the establishment of the Single European Sky and ensuring improved regulation at the level of the European Union. Other objectives include minimizing passenger anguish by effectively controlling any future ATC strikes, implementing technology to boost efficiency, leveraging SESAR funding towards Single Sky Framework compliance.
The strikes organized by the French ATCs lasted from the 20th to the 22nd of March.