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Ryanair takes on French air traffic controllers

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Ryanair takes on French air traffic controllers
Ryanair has launched a petition to try to ban strikes by air traffic controllers. Photo: AFP
14:09 CEST+02:00
Budget airline Ryanair has called on members of the public across Europe to back its new campaign to stop French air traffic controllers going on strike. It comes as a planned strike in France was called off at the eleventh hour.

LATEST:

  • French air traffic control strike for July 2nd and 3rd called off

The airline, which has long called for a crackdown on strikes by controllers, has launched a petition calling for the removal of the right to strike.

Ryanair says that when a million people have signed the petition, named Keep Europe's Skies Open, it will be presented to the European Commission and used to pressure authorities into action.

As it prepared to cancel dozens of flights if Thursday's strike had gone ahead, Ryanair also proposed that controllers from around Europe should be able to step in when the French go on strike.

In that way control centres around Europe could take over French air space and limit the disruption to passengers.

Ryanair's chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, said: “It's unacceptable that Europe's consumers repeatedly have their holiday and travel plans disrupted or cancelled by the selfish actions of ATC unions every summer, who use strikes as a first weapon rather than a last resort.

"If the EU won't listen to the airlines, perhaps they'll listen to Europe's citizens.” 

Across the border, Spanish air traffic controllers are set to go on strike in July.


(An air traffic controllers tower at the Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, Paris. Photo: AFP)

However on Wednesday afternoon the planned strike by the SNCTA union was called off after renewed negotiations.

It's not the first time Ryanair has called on the EU to ban airport strikes in France.

In June last year, during another French air traffic controllers strike, furious Ryanair chief Jacobs told The Local “enough is enough.”

“French air traffic controllers are going on strike every single year. It's time to say enough is enough."

“We are fed up, our customers are fed up and everyone around Europe is fed up. We are calling on the EU commission to be braver and follow the example of the US and take away air traffic controllers' right to strike across Europe.

"The controllers play a vital role and every summer they are holding passengers to ransom," Jacobs said.

“People have worked hard all year and they see their only holiday affected by this strike. That's not fair.

“People's right to travel is a higher priority than the controllers' right to strike. We need to respect that this is causing travel disruption to a lot of people. Allowing such a small group such control over others is unfair,” he added.

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