Threat of flight chaos for passengers as Europe’s air traffic controllers plan strike
A strike by Europe’s air traffic controllers that could affect passengers across 28 countries has been planned for January 29th.
Up to 14,000 flight controllers could bring the airways across Europe to a partial standstill if industrial action protesting against new centralised initiatives by the European Commission go ahead.
The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Co-ordination (ATCEUC) is continuing to contest the Single European Sky (SES2+) package, which it feels will compromise safety via ‘unrealistic cost reduction and unreasonable traffic forecasts’.
The EC has been working on the concept of a more centralised air traffic management system since 1999 in a bid to better handle the ever increasing number of flights over the region.
ATCEUC has called plans by the EC to negotiate further with them on the ‘Single European Sky’ initiative ‘a big fraud’
There are currently around 26,000 flights daily within Europe, a figure that is widely expected to double by the end of the decade.
ATCEUC had originally planned to strike in autumn 2013 but both sides returned to the negotiating table in a bid to resolve the issues without industrial action.
The organisation has since called the promise of dialogue ‘a big fraud’.
In a statement released last week, ATCEUC President Volker Dick said:
‘Last October, ATCEUC was given assurances that the European Commission was finally willing to discuss our views on the performance scheme, regarding the lack of real safety targets and the unrealistic cost efficiency targets.
‘Having this in mind, all 28 unions members of ATCEUC decided unanimously to postpone the Action Day scheduled for the 10 October.
‘But just one day after our meeting with the Commission, and our previous rejection of the proposal, already including over-ambitious targets, we came across an EC proposal even more unrealistic, clearly showing that the former declaration of good faith, in solving the things out through an open dialogue, was a big fraud.