A third of European summer flights at risk if air traffic controllers strike

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Up to a third of European flights could be cancelled or delayed this summer if proposed strikes by air traffic controllers go ahead.  

According to The Times, staff at Eurocontrol could now walk out, after talks regarding pay and conditions broke down.  

Eurocontrol is responsible for developing and operating the air traffic management (ATM) network in Europe and beyond, allowing aircraft to move seamlessly between different air traffic controllers. 

An industry source told The Times that as many as 12,600 flights could be delayed or cancelled. 

“In a full-blown strike, 20 to 30% of flights would be delayed. They are big numbers,” the source said.  

Reportedly, Eurocontrol deals with more than 96,000 messages a day from flight crews and airlines.  

Strikes could be announced as early as Monday, July 10, 2023, though any strike action could be diverted if a resolution is agreed between all parties. 

The Times claimed the Union Syndicale Bruxelles, which represents Eurocontrol workers, was requesting the immediate hiring of 20 more controllers.  

Many European airlines are finally beginning to see demand for travel return to pre-pandemic levels, and any talk of strikes will be seen as a major new setback for the aviation industry. 

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