Holidaymakers, businesses and airlines are, again, suffering at the hands of Europe’s ATC network thanks to today’s four-hour stoppage by the Greek Air Traffic Controllers Association (GATCA). GATCA is striking in a bid to drive reform of Greece’s air navigation system. Flights to and from Greece will be severely disrupted with further strike action threatened for August 14 and 15.
Simon McNamara, director general of the European Regions Airline Association, says the walkout is completely unreasonable. “GATCA’s motives to drive reform may be well placed but using strike action to achieve them is not. This action will be hugely disruptive to airlines and will cause misery to passengers at a time of peak demand. Under EU261* rules airlines are obliged to pick up the associated costs of caring for and assisting their passengers during any disruption, despite the fact that the circumstances are beyond their control.
“Europe’s airlines and passengers continue to suffer at the hands of the ATC industry which resorts to inappropriate industrial action without concern for the wider impact of its actions on people and business,” he adds.
*Under EU261 European airlines have a duty of care to passengers whose flights are cancelled or heavily delayed – and must provide meals and, if necessary, accommodation, until alternative transport can be arranged.
ERA Head Office, UK, 5 August 2015