Continuing strikes in Europe could keep travel disruptions going through the summer, as the number of passengers traveling globally recovers to pre-pandemic levels.
Since last year, strikes and staff shortages have forced European airlines to cancel thousands of flights to avoid long queues at major airports, and some disruptions persist.
According to flight claim management firm AirHelp, flight cancellations and delays of more than three hours in Europe were up from 2022 and 2019 over the April 5-11 period, which coincided with the Easter holiday weekend. The disruptions were most marked in France and Britain.
Here is a summary of some of the recent developments:
** British Airways reduced its flight schedule due to planned strikes by London Heathrow airport employees during the Easter holiday weekend
** More than 1,000 members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) working across most of the UK’s passport offices, including in London, Liverpool and Glasgow, will walk out from April 3 to May 5, the union said. Border Force staff are expected to strike on April 28, possibly impacting border control wait times.
** Paris airports operator Aeroports de Paris estimated that strikes reduced passenger numbers by around 470,000 between January and March, 390,000 of them last month.
** Ryanair expected cancellations or delays of flights to and from France between March 30 and April 8 due to ongoing French air traffic control strikes. Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said on April 19 the carrier will have to trim its July schedule because it expects around 10 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will be delayed due to manufacturing issues.
** Hamburg Airport said all departures would be cancelled or take place without passengers on April 20 and 21 due to a strike by security control workers strike represented by the Verdi trade union.
** Strikes at Duesseldorf, Cologne/Bonn, Stuttgart and Baden-Baden airports led to the cancellation of hundreds of flights on March 17.
** Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg airports cancelled all commercial flights due to strike action on March 13.
** EasyJet Plc’s cabin staff in Portugal completed a three-day strike that started on April 1 to demand higher wages to compensate for the soaring cost of living
** Pilots for Spanish airline Iberia Regional Air Nostrum voted to go on an indefinite strike amid a wage dispute with the company. Air Nostrum said pilots called for a strike every Monday and Friday from Feb 27.
HIRING AND INCENTIVES
** Iberia, IAG’s Spanish airline, planned to hire a total of 2,145 staff in the first half of the year to be able to handle the Easter travel rush and the summer season.
** In Italy, ITA Airways averted strikes after an undisclosed wage increase accord with unions at the end of February.