October 10 strike set to gridlock Europe

Air traffic across Europe could be severely affected due to strike action on October 10, warns the umbrella controller body which is marshalling the day of protest.

Update: Pan European action halted; French strike threat resumes October 10

In a statement on its website, the ATCEUC which represents 14,000 controllers in 26 countries said there is a high likelihood of flights being delayed on October 10. “Heavy delays and some cancellations are expected all over Europe but particularly in those countries where the industrial action will take place such as Germany, France, Spain and Portugal,” it warns.

“The air­space over Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France, whose air traffic control service is provided by Eurocontrol, will also be heavily affected. Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Macedonia, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and Switzerland will also join this action day,” it adds.

Europe’s network manager Eurocontrol said it was following the situation closely but that it was still not clear as to the extent or impact.

“We’ll publish more definitive information when we have it – hopefully by Friday. The best place to look for this is our Network Operations Portal. We will also be providing updates via our Twitter (@eurocontrol) when we have concrete information,” said a spokeswoman for Eurocontrol.

The Network Operations Portal reports that information received so far about participation in industrial action by ATC unions on October 10 indicates strikes will take place in these countries:

Portugal: 0600-0800 and 1400-1600 UTC
France: 0400-1800 UTC
Spain: 0700-0900 and 1500-1700 UTC

“We will tactically update the information on the situation,” said Eurocontrol.

The ATCEUC said the action was in response to the new European Commission’s SES2+ project which it insists will undermine safety and degrade service quality provided by air traffic control agencies. “The European citizens must be alerted that the result will be catastrophic,” it said.

Unions representing workers consider the changes to be detrimental to their profession and likely to cost the jobs of around 10,000 workers.

Matthias Maas of Germany’s controllers union GdF, said he expects widespread cancellations and disruptions, and that although minimum legal requirements for service provision will have to be maintained, there could be a knock on effect beyond Europe and even beyond Thursday into the weekend.

“Today the targets set by the EC in SES2+ are impossible and dangerous as they do not take into account the economic crisis and the subsequent reduction of air traffic,” said the ATCEUC, adding that Eurocontrol has consistently failed to correctly predict levels of traffic using European airspace.

The ATCEUC said its position was supported by all of the air traffic control agencies within the busiest airspace regions in Europe – called FABEC which groups together  Luxembourg,  Belgium,  Germany, France, Holland, and Switzerland – who have also demanded Brussels revise its SES2+ project.

“The ATCEUC calls on the EC and Commissioner Kallas to rethink their plans on SES2+ and to base them on reality instead of fiction,” said the ATCEUC.

CANSO, representing many of the air traffic control agencies involved, said the industrial action was disproportionate and unnecessary as the Commission had not yet made a final decision and that there was opportunity for continuing dialogue in the SES2+ process.

Read More:
Massive ATC strike action planned in October
ATCEUC Action Day
Dossier: SES2+


Posted in Airlines, Single European Sky, Uncategorized

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