ITAA call for restrictions on Air Traffic Control strikes as French air space shuts down

The Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) has expressed their disappointment at the latest French Air Traffic Control strike which is in effect from Wednesday evening until 6am tomorrow, Friday, 10th May.

Pat Dawson, CEO of the ITAA, said, “This latest ATC strike is just one of many which have plagued air travel in recent years. The industrial action is causing disruption to Irish passengers travelling to and from France, and any journey which may pass through French air space, such as popular destinations Portugal and Spain. Disruption to planned accommodation, any connecting travel and, of course, incurred additional costs, are major consequences for Irish holidaymakers.”

He continued, “ITAA members have long been concerned with the recurring issue of industrial disharmony in France over recent years. This could affect tourism from Ireland to France going forward. The ITAA is in complete support of the Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism (NET) and Airlines for Europe (A4E) as they look to outlaw Air Traffic Control strikes.”

A 2016 study* conducted on behalf of A4E estimates that air traffic strikes have cost the EU economy €13.4 billion since 2010. When Air Traffic Control strikes occur, customers’ journeys and supply chains are immediately and severely disrupted, impacting booked accommodation and connecting flights, often causing increased costs for the consumer. Airlines are obliged to pay compensation to these passengers and rebook on alternative flights, with significant disruption to travel plans and the airline’s operations. Currently, airlines are not entitled to recover these costs from the air navigation service providers who have caused them.

Dawson continued, “While the current strike is affecting popular holiday destinations Paris, Nice, Murcia, Barcelona, Ibiza and among others, we are also aware that inbound tourism to Ireland and businesses are equally faced with disruptions.”

Dawson concluded, “The ITAA advise all passengers due to fly today and tomorrow morning to check with their travel agent for the status of their flight before making their way to the airport this weekend. With a two day strike, passengers should consider that airlines could likely face schedule disturbances beyond Friday morning.”