European airlines are calling on the European Commission to take more action to mitigate the impact of strikes on travel this summer, trade group Airlines for Europe (A4E) said in a statement on Tuesday, with demand for flights set to soar. Strikes have rolled across Europe this year, already causing problems during the Easter travel season. Now, analysts and airlines fear travellers could face another summer of disruption on a similar scale to last year.
Specifically, air traffic controller strikes in France have led to delays and limited flights across the country, causing more air space congestion in Europe and prompting Ryanair to launch a petition demanding more action from Europe’s leaders.
The petition currently has over 964,000 signatures and, if it reaches one million, would warrant a response from the Commission.
“Millions of Europeans are eager to travel this summer, and strikes stand to shatter their plans,” said Laurent Donceel, acting managing director of A4E, which represents airlines such as Ryanair, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM .
“It’s high time the Commission took decisive action to ensure smoother skies for the months ahead.” Baggage mishandling rates have also spiked amid staff shortages and labour disruptions, among other issues, according to SITA, an IT and digital services provider in the aviation sector.
A4E’s proposal calls for mandatory arbitration with air traffic control unions before they can call a strike, 21-day advance notice if they choose to strike and a three-day individual notice of strike participation.
In most cases, labour law and union negotiations are the competence of EU member countries.
The Commission did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.