France and Italy kick-off traditional European summer holiday strike season

May 9, 2019


As is becoming a regular occurrence, the arrival of the summer holiday season in Europe has seen the commencement of two commercial aviation-related strikes. This Friday, a number of airport staff, along with some employees of debt-ridden Alitalia, and Air Italy, will be going on strike between 12 noon and 4 p.m. local time, though an intended strike by Italian air-traffic controllers working for ENAV has been postponed while negotiations continue.

Of greater concern and likely to create considerable disruption for numerous airlines, French air-traffic controllers are planning to go on strike, along with millions of other public servants in France as a show of opposition to President Macron’s plans to transform working conditions for public servants. Air-traffic controllers will be commencing strike action at 7 p.m. local time on May 8, lasting until 6 a.m. on May 10. Airlines will be unsure until later on in the week exactly how flights are likely to be affected once Eurocontrol has had the opportunity of discussing the matter with them.

The strike by Alitalia staff will likely not help the ailing carriers plight as it looks for a bail-out from its current “special administration” situation which has been ongoing for two years. Currently, Delta Airlines and the Italian State Railway are exploring a rescue package but are not prepared to put up all the money required to turn around the carrier’s worsening situation. The Italian government has farther extended the deadline on a €900 million (US$1,017 million) bridging loan to enable Alitalia to remain operational.

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