Factbox-Europe’s ongoing strike-related travel disruptions

(Reuters) – European airports are in the midst of another busy summer as passenger numbers globally recover to pre-pandemic levels, while airline and airport staff continue wage talks.

The travel industry is on high alert for disruption after Europe’s peak season last year was hit by cancellations, causing chaos at airports. This summer, air traffic control issues are likely to be the weak spot, according to warnings from Eurocontrol, which manages European airspace.

Here is a summary of recent developments:


One of the Eurocontrol trade unions has announced a six-month period when industrial action could take place in the Network Manager Operations Centre, which oversees traffic across the European airspace, the pan-European organisation said on July 7. The union has not set specific dates for a strike.


Ryanair pilots in Belgium went on strike on July 15-16 in demand of higher wages and better working conditions. Around 120 flights were cancelled and 20,000 passengers affected due to the strike, according to media reports.

The union has also said further action could be taken until the current collective labour agreement expires in October 2024.


A first round of strikes planned by baggage handlers working with easyJet at London’s Gatwick airport has been suspended after a better pay offer, the Unite trade union said on July 18.

However, strikes planned by around 450 ASC, Menzies Aviation and GGS staff, who work for other airlines including British Airways, are still scheduled to take place from July 28 to Aug. 1 and from Aug. 4 to Aug. 8.

Concerns over air traffic control delays already prompted EasyJet to axe 2% of its summer flight schedule on July 10, affecting holiday plans of 180,000 customers. The airline cancelled 1,700 flights, mostly from Gatwick, for the rest of July and August.


Repeated air traffic control (ATC) strikes in France, related to President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise pension age, have led to delays and limited flights across the country, causing more air space congestion in Europe.

Ryanair, which has asked the European Commission to protect overflights from strike disruption, cancelled more than 900 flights in June mainly due to French ATC strikes.


About 1,000 flights were cancelled in Italy on July 15 due to a nationwide airport staff strike, local media reported. Up to 100% workers participated in the strike, the trade unions said in a joint press release.

Air traffic control company ENAV has confirmed there will be no strikes in the Italian air transport sector between July 27 and Sept. 5 due to a summer exemption provided for in the industry regulations.


Easyjet cancelled 350 flights arriving to or departing from Portugal ahead of a cabin staff strike on July 21-25, the SNPVAC union of civil aviation flight personnel said. It will be the union’s third strike since the beginning of the year.


Pilots at Iberia Regional Air Nostrum, who had been striking every Monday and Friday since Feb. 27, went on a daily indefinite strike from June 6 amid a pay dispute. As of July 14, Iberia said on its website some flight routes could be affected.

(Compiled by Tiago Brandao, Pierre John Felcenloben, Antonis Triantafyllou, Romolo Tosiani and Luca Fratangelo; Editing by Milla Nissi)