Italian national carrier Alitalia confirmed in a statement that 127 national and international flights had been cancelled on Monday, with a further 11 cancellations on Tuesday due to the strike action.
Alitalia said it would be switching to bigger aircraft and rebooking flights, and advised passengers who were affected “to check on which flight they have been rebooked by logging in to the website www.alitalia.com and entering their name, surname and booking code in the ‘my flights’ section on the home page.”
There were no reports of flight cancellations by other airlines, though there may be some delays or disruption on the ground at Italian airports with some staff on strike.
Meanwhile the city centres of Milan and Rome were jammed with traffic as many people opted to use cars amid fears of local public transport disruption.
Milan’s metro is operating on a normal schedule, stated city transport company ATM: “The service is continuing on all underground lines. Traffic could slow down the circulation of surface lines.”
Rome’s metro system is operating “in fits and starts” on Monday, news agency Ansa reports, with line C closed and lines A and B operating on reduced service.
Trams and other forms of public transport in Milan may face delays due to heavy traffic, the city transport company warns. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP
Some roads and central squares in Rome are also closed to traffic on Monday because of demonstrations, including Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Madonna di Loret.
Thousands of people are expected to march in Rome, where a heavy police presence was reported following violence on Saturday after a demonstration against vaccines and the green pass system.
Roads have also been blocked due to marches in other cities including Naples and Genova on Monday morning.
The 24-hour general strike, for both public and private sector workers, was called by several of Italy’s national and regional trade unions to protest government labour and economic policies, including those on working hours and pensions, as well as calling for more investment in schools and transport.
Alitalia staff also took to the streets to protest the planned closure of the airline, which is set to end operations on Thursday and be replaced by new national carrier ITA from Friday.
The unions have stated in recent days that this is not a demonstration against the green pass, and sought to distance themselves from the violent protests seen in Rome and Milan this weekend, Ansa reports.