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European Summer Strikes Could Lead to Travel to Travel Chaos, Aviation Industry Warns


European countries could soon be subject to travel disruptions as a result of strikes as well as flight delays and cancellations.

Through a statement, one of the Eurocontrol Trade Unions said that in a period of six months, industrial action could take place in the Network Manager Operations Center.

“No specific dates for industrial action have been announced; this was only a pre-warning. EUROCONTROL is in ongoing dialogue with USB and all the other trade unions to discuss the situation, and we are hopeful of a positive outcome,” the announcement reads.

The same notes that Eurocontrol is discussing with Union Syndicale Bruxelles (USB) as well as other trade unions in order to find an effective solution to the current situation, stressing that “we are hopeful of a positive outcome.”

According to a Reuters report, the Gatwick chief executive, Stewart Wingate, recently said that strikes could be among the airport’s biggest headaches this summer.

Besides, the European Organisation of Safety of Air Navigation, Eurocontrol, has considered this summer challenging, with 33,000 flights per day estimated in the next eight weeks, which is eight per cent more compared to those that took off in the same period last year.

As air traffic continues to surge during the peak summer season, there is a growing possibility of an increase in flight cancellations and delays.

Besides, a surge in the number of delayed flights was also noted in the first quarter of this year, based on a recent report by Eurocontrol.

“The average delay per flight in Q1 2023 increased to a 5-year high of 14.5 minutes per flight, compared to Q1 2022, where the average delay per flight was 9.5 minutes per flight. The number of flights increased by 21 per cent when compared to Q1 2022,” the statement reads.

The same source noted that industrial action was the main reason for all disruptions registered in the first quarter of this year, with ATC industrial action in France happening in all first three months of this year, while March saw strikes from March 6 to March 31.

According to Eurocontrol, there was also experienced a significant surge in airport delays after a large number of airports in Europe struggled with labour shortages, among others.

As for average delay per flight, it increased to 14.5 minutes per flight in the first three months of this year, compared to 9.5 minutes registered in 2021.

A similar trend was also noted in the average delay per flight on arrival, with the average surging to 13.3 minutes per flight compared to 8.6 minutes in the first quarter of last year.

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