UPDATE: Italian low-cost airline staff to strike on June 25th

Pilots and flight attendants from Ryanair, Malta Air, CrewLink, easyJet and Volotea will strike again on Saturday over pay and conditions, unions said.

Ryanair plane at Belarus airport
Ryanair staff will participate in a 24-hour strike on Saturday, June 25th. Photo by Petras MALUKAS / AFP

Flights are expected to be hit by delays and/or cancellations on Saturday, June 25th, with pilots and cabin crew from Ryanair, Malta Air, CrewLink, easyJet and Volotea set to hold a nationwide 24-hour walkout over wages and working conditions.

Unions representing airline staff said the strike was called because of “the impossibility of starting a discussion about problems that have afflicted crew for months”.

READ ALSO: How will Italian flights be affected by Saturday’s strike action?

“After the strike of June 8th, workers will take new action to demand contracts in line with the minimum wage provision … as required by Italian law,” stated Italian unions Filt (Italian Federation of Transport Workers) and Uiltrasporti (the Italian transport workers’ union).

They added they were also demanding “food and water for the crews … who are often unable to get off the plane for 14 consecutive hours, and the cancellation of the wage cuts introduced to face a period of crisis that is no longer current.”

“If not listened to, we won’t hesitate to call further protest actions from the month of July,” the unions warned.

The upcoming strike will be part of a wider network of demonstrations, with low-cost airline pilots and cabin crew from Spain, Portugal, France and Belgium set to stage a walkout on the same day.

Italy’s unions said the longer strikes being held in other countries mean “probable inconveniences on connecting routes operated by the Ryanair group, especially [flights going] to the countries holding strikes”.

READ ALSO: Strikes and queues: How airline passengers in Europe face summer travel chaos

As it was the case on June 8th, it is likely that a number of scheduled flights will be significantly delayed or cancelled on the day of the strike, but it remains unclear how badly each airline will be affected.

Ryanair said it expects the disruption to its Italian flight schedule on Saturday to be minimal.

The airline’s Italian country manager Mauro Bolla told news agency Ansa the unions behind the strikes “do not have representation in Ryanair”.

In addition to the walkouts, demonstrations also planned at three Italian airports.

Milan Malpensa, Rome Ciampino and Bergamo Orio al Serio will all have pickets stationed outside their doors from 10am onwards on Saturday, unions said, however no major disruption is anticipated as a result of the direct action.

Passengers travelling with any of the above-mentioned carriers on Saturday, June 25th are advised to contact their airline for updates before leaving for the airport.

In the event of delays and/or cancellations, the rights of all passengers are protected by EU regulation EC 261. This applies to any air passenger flying within the EU/Schengen zone, arriving in the EU/Schengen zone from a non-EU country by means of a EU-based airline (all airlines involved in the strike are EU-based) or departing from the EU/Schengen zone.  

According to this regulation, airlines are financially accountable for any journey disruption they are responsible for. That includes disruptions caused by airline staff strikes. Therefore, should your flight be significantly delayed or cancelled, you might be entitled to receive compensation from your airline. 

Please note The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For further information on what you might be entitled to and in which cases, check our guide here.

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‘Arrive early’: Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

Europe's airports chief told passengers to leave time for delays this summer as the air travel industry struggles to meet surging demand after the pandemic.

'Arrive early': Passengers at European airports warned of travel disruption

“The clear conjunction of a much quicker recovery with a very tight labour market is creating a lot of problems,” Olivier Jankovec, head of the Europe branch of the Airports Council International (ACI), told AFP.

He said there were issues from airports to airlines, ground handlers, police and border controls, but insisted: “The system still works”.

READ ALSO: Budget airline passengers in Europe face travel headaches as more strikes called

“It’s important for passengers that they communicate with the airlines in terms of when they should get to the airport, and prepare to come earlier than usual to make sure to have the time to go through, especially if they have to check luggage,” he said.

Strikes by low-cost pilots and cabin crew across Europe – including this weekend – are adding to the disruption.

Speaking at the ACI Europe annual congress in Rome, Jankovec said airports had taken measures to improve the situation, which would come into effect from mid-July.

“Additional staff will be coming in July, the reconfiguration of some of the facilities and infrastructure to facilitate the flows will also come into effect in July,” he said.

“I think it will be tight, there will be some disruptions, there will be longer waiting times.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

“But I think that in the vast majority of airports, the traffic will go, people will not miss their planes, and hopefully everybody will be able to reach their destination as planned.”

He also defended increases in airport charges, after criticism from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents airlines.

Airports face “the same difficulties and inflationary pressures” as airlines, which he noted were putting their fares up, he said.

“Staff and energy is 45 percent of our operating costs, and of course inflation is also driving up the cost of materials,” he said.