Holidays in Italy are under threat as airport staff announce strikes over the summer

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The chaos of summer travel in Europe will only get worse.

Now that travel demand has returned to 2019 levels and most countries have scrapped entry rules, Europe as a whole is failing to handle higher passenger numbers amid reports of a reduction in airport staff. In Italy, the situation is particularly worryingas the operators have just announced strikes during the summercasting shadows over the holidays of millions of people.

Airplane flying over the Colosseum in Rome, Italy

On Wednesday June 8, several air traffic controllers left their posts for a full 24 hours, severely disrupting travel to and from Italy and other European countries. The move halted airport operations at major Italian hubs, leading carriers like ITA Airways, EasyJet and Ryanair to cut a number of flights.

Unfortunately, this could be replicated in the summer months (much busier) as the number of passengers increases:

Busy Fontana Di Trevi in ​​Rome, Italy

The strike leads to the cancellation of several flights across Italy

Earlier this week, millions of travelers were disrupted in Italy after unionized air traffic controllers struck. The situation only got worse when unions then called on workers at some low-cost airlines, such as Ryanair, to join the strike for four hours, leading to hundreds of delays and cancellations.

According UIL Transportationthe real union behind the strike, 360 flights have been canceled and 4,000 passengers directly affected. Those due to fly with Ryanair have been hit hardest as UIL Trasporti and FILT-CGIL, another workers’ union, have urged a four hour strike for company workers in Italy.

Black female air traffic controller holding tablet in airport tower.  The office room is full of desktop computer screens with navigation screens, plane departure and arrival data for the team

Their main complaints related to reductions in remuneration linked to on-board sales and difficult working conditions endured by Ryanair staff. The company, Europe’s biggest low-cost airline flying to hundreds of destinations on the continent and beyond, later denied that its crew took part in the strikes – even though their scheduled flight had been affected.

According to a spokesperson, the delays and cancellations suffered by customers are linked to the departure of air traffic controllers. At least 14 flights who were due to depart from Milan were grounded, passengers bound for London bearing the brunt. Ryanair apologized for the inconvenience but maintained the strikes were beyond its control.

Passengers crossing the EGate at Fiumicino airport in Rome, Italy

Another low-cost carrier, EasyJet, also blamed its multiple cancellations on Wednesday on departure from Italian controllers. Passengers due to travel to Bologna, Milan, Naples, Rome and Venice all had their long awaited summer vacation ruined. ITA Airways experienced similar disruptions, but managed to reroute most of its passengers to avoid the strike.

Disruptions will continue throughout the summer

Lemons hanging from a tree with a view of the Amalfi coast in southern Italy, mediterranean concept, Europe

While flight operations have since resumed, the unions involved continue to list poor pay conditions for their actionas well as “arbitrary wage cuts, non-payment of sick leave, the company’s refusal to grant time off during the summer season, and the lack of water and meals for the crew”.

Signaling they or they will call more strikes in the coming months if an agreement is not reached quicklya spokesperson for UIL Trasporti conceded that “this will only be the first in a series of protest actions that will make the summer hot‘. Unfortunately, airports – and airlines – are unlikely to overcome their current short-term challenges.

Long queue of people queuing in an airport, travel chaos concept

Europe’s airports are already in deep trouble due to a lack of staff at a time when passenger numbers are skyrocketing, and a large majority of European hubs predict a chaotic summer ahead. With the possibility of more strikes to come, this will only worsen the aviation crisis of 2022, even after Covid is gone.

Expect Italy travel delays in the coming weeks

ITA Airways Concept Image, Fiumicino Airport, Rome, Italy

During the summer, winding queues and extremely busy departure halls will be a common sight across Europe, as the industry goes on a hiring spree to try to salvage the first post-Covid tourist season. A total of 191,000 aviation workers were fired during the pandemic, making it virtually impossible for airports to fill all the gaps before the start of summer.

Italy may have fully lifted all pandemic-related restrictions on June 1, again allowing foreigners to visit regardless of their vaccination status, but holidaymakers can now have more pressing issues – other than Covid – at their fingertips. If you are leaving for Italy soon, check your flight status before you go to the airport and make sure in case of cancellation before you travel.

Read more:

Travel insurance that covers Covid-19 for 2022

Spain and Italy won’t follow EU in removing masks on flights this week

Why Travelers Should Only Pack One Carry-On Bag This Summer

Delta says flights will see record price increases this summer of up to 30%

What travelers should know about the spread of the Monkeypox virus in Europe

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