Strike! Italian ATC walkout prompts Alitalia flight cancellations

Sergio Di Pasquale Luci /

With an air traffic controllers’ strike planned in Italy for September 7, 2021, flag carrier Alitalia has been forced to cancel flights and switch some to larger planes.

Trade union UNICA has called a national strike from 1.00pm to 5.00pm local time, Italian air navigation service provider ENAV said. In addition, local strikes are set to take place at the Roma and Milano area control centers, as well as at Turin Caselle Airport (TRN), Naples International Airport (NAP), Pescara airport (PSR), and Genoa Cristoforo Colombo Airport (GOA). 

“To limit the inconvenience to passengers, Alitalia has activated an extraordinary plan that provides for the use of larger airplanes on domestic and international routes,” the airline said in a statement on its website. 

By using larger aircraft, Alitalia hopes to rebook affected travelers on the first available flights. 

A list on Alitalia’s website shows the airline has cancelled some 70 flights for September 7, 2021. 

“ENAV will ensure that the essential services are provided in compliance with the current regulation,” the ANSP declared in a September 2, 2021, statement advising of the strikes. 

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) have been issued for the affected areas, specifying which services airlines can expect during the strike. 

European network manager Eurocontrol in a social media post that said the strike will not impact overflights or incoming intercontinental flights.

Alitalia will cease operations on October 15, 2021, after being placed into administration in 2017. It is being succeeded by Italia Trasporto Aereo (ITA). 


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