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Flights Interrupted - European Air Traffic Controllers Strike
Strikes could affect travel within Europe this summer

Dateline: 19 June 2002
Turbulent skies in Europe - Air traffic controllers strike

The players - Air traffic controllers (ATCs) in a number of European countries striking against proposed measures to make much of the European air space a `single sky'.

What has occurred thus far - French air traffic controllers staged a strike on Wednesday, June 19th, effectively closing down French airports and resulting in hundreds of cancelled flights. Air traffic controllers in other European countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland) have also staged strikes (though not as widespread as those in France) in support of the French ATCs. Strikes are likely to occur intermittently throughout the month of June. A general strike planned in Spain on Thursday, June 20th, will probably add more problems for passengers into the mix.

Why are the Air Traffic Controllers striking? The French ATCs are concerned about possible job losses; privatization of air traffic control services; and air traffic safety and security issues over plans by the European Union's Single Sky Committee to move towards one body governing the continent's airspace. The European Union insists that their plan will help air traffic control to deal with anticipated increases in air traffic, and will make the system more efficient.

The results - Hundreds of canceled flights; stranded passengers; days of airport delays and more canceled flights; and possible air travel disruptions in Europe this summer.

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