Leading EU Tourism Associations join A4E efforts to minimize impact of damaging ATC strikes
– 29 strike days in first six months of 2018 have caused delays and
cancellations affecting millions of travellers.
– Members of NET, the Network for the European Private Sector in
Tourism, voice their concerns.
– Since 2004, EU airlines and their passengers have faced 423 ATC strike
days, 70 percent of which occurred in France.
In the first half of 2018, EU travellers were subjected to an unprecedented 29
Air Traffic Control (ATC) strike days — 22 of them occurring in France —
affecting millions of passengers through delays and cancellations. Today, the
Network for the European Private Sector in Tourism, NET, a grouping of
major European tourism trade associations, announced it is joining A4E’s
efforts to minimize the strikes’ damaging impact on travellers and tourism
across the EU.
Pawel Niewiadomski, President of ECTAA, the group of national travel agents’
and tour operators’ associations within the EU and a member of NET, said:
“We are concerned about the increasing number of ATC strikes that result in
major travel disruptions for our customers. In the midst of the busiest tourist
season, ATC strikes cause major delays for millions of holidaymakers, many of
which are families with young children”.
Susanne Kraus-Winkler, President of HOTREC, the voice of the hospitality
industry in Europe and also a member of NET, added: “Travel disruptions
caused by ATC strikes have a cascading effect on all other services supplied in
the tourism value chain. Flight delays or cancellations lead to lost
accommodation, missed cruise connections, travel attractions, etc. We
deplore that our customers are ultimately paying for the strikes with lost
enjoyment of their vacations”.
ATC strikes have a costly impact on tourism, European economies and the
1. Customers’ journeys and supply chains are severely disrupted.
2. Diversions to avoid closed air space result in much longer flights and burn
more fuel, resulting in higher CO2 emissions.
3. Tourism is most affected due to cancelled flights to prime holiday
destinations, putting small and medium size businesses at risk.
4. Airlines have to pay passengers compensation for the delays and rebook
them on other flights, significantly disrupting customers’ travel plans and the
airlines’ operations. Airlines don’t have the right to recover these costs from
the air navigation service providers who have caused them.
5. Tour operators have to offer alternative travel arrangements and possible
refunds for services not performed according to contract, which can be
significant when re-routing in high season is more difficult.
6. A recent study* estimates air traffic strikes have cost the EU economy
€13.4 billion since 2010.
“2018 is shaping up to be one of the worst years ever for ATC strikes in Europe.
We stand together with NET, its members and Europe’s tourism industry as a
whole in calling on authorities to take immediate action to improve the
situation and reverse the trend”, said Thomas Reynaert, Managing Director,
Airlines for Europe (A4E).
Solutions proposed by A4E include a mandatory 72- hour individual
notification period for employees wishing to strike, protection of overflights
(while not at the expense of the country where the strike originates), and an
improved continuity of service for passengers. In addition, investments are
required in technology, processes and human resources to make Europe’s
overall air traffic management system capable of coping with ever-increasing
Travellers can join A4E’s Free Movement Call for Action by signing its online
petition at www.keepeuropesskiesopen.com. The petition will be presented
to the relevant authorities in Brussels and EU capitals by the end of 2018.