Ryanair today (31st May) delivered its ‘Protect Overflights: Keep EU Skies Open’ petition to EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen’s office, having collected more than 1.1 million signatures from fed-up passengers demanding that the EU Commission protect overflights and EU citizens’ freedom of movement during repeated ATC strikes.
In the first 5 months of 2023, there have been 57 days of ATC strikes (10 times more than 2022) forcing airlines to disproportionately cancel thousands of EU overflights from Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK and Ireland while France in particular, uses Minimum Service Laws to protect their domestic/short-haul flights while disproportionately cancelling overflights.
France (and all other EU states) should copy the example of Spain, Italy and Greece all of whom use Minimum Service Laws to protect overflights during ATC strikes.
If this means that a greater number of domestic or short-haul flights are cancelled, then so be it, but flights over France must be protected during French ATC strikes.
Ryanair calls on the EU Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen to act on the petition of more than 1.1 million EU passengers, and demand that all EU States protect overflights during ATC strikes as is already done in Greece, Italy and Spain.
We call on the EU Commission, under Ursula von der Leyen’s leadership to:
- Respect the strike rights of ATC unions, but
- Protect 100% of overflights (like Greece, Italy & Spain) during national ATC strikes
- If ATC strikes require cancellations, then allocate these to domestic/short-haul flights to/from the affected State
- Enforce binding arbitration for ATC disputes before strike action
- Require a 21-day notice of strike action
- Require a 72h notice of employee participation in ATC strikes to minimise passenger disruption
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said: “Today, just 10 weeks since we launched our ‘Protect Overflights: Keep EU Skies Open’ petition, we delivered over 1.1 million signatures from fed-up EU citizens calling on the EU Commission under Ursula von der Leyen to protect overflights during repeated ATC strikes.
“It is unacceptable that ATC strikes can result in the cancellation of thousands of EU passengers’ flights, while France and other EU Member States use Minimum Service Laws to protect their domestic flights.
“Europe’s passengers are sick and tired of suffering unnecessary overflight cancellations during ATC strikes.
“The EU Commission must now act upon the petition of more than 1.1 million EU citizens and insist that all states protect overflights during national ATC strikes as is already done in Greece, Italy and Spain.”