French air traffic controllers commenced a strike on the evening of 20-Jul-2010 in protest over plans to create a Single European Sky (Wall Street Journal/CNN international, 20-Jul-2010). Four of the nine French air traffic control unions said their members wouldn't turn up for work until 22-Jul-2010 to protest the plan, which may lead to possible job losses and changes to working conditions. The new system will have six air-traffic control regions, instead of individual countries operating their own controls as they do now. France's airspace authorities will be combined with those of five other countries - Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium – to form the Functional Airspace Block Europe Central (FABEC). The FABEC area covers 1.7 million sqkm and is characterised by closely interlaced civil and military traffic routes. National secretary for the air traffic controllers represented by the CGT union, Olivier Joffrin, said there may be more strikes in Sep-2010, when firmer integration plans are expected, if the plan moved forward without being modified. [more-Monarch Airlines] [more - French Civil Aviation Authority] [more - Budapest Airport]
French air traffic controllers strike over plans for Single European Sky
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Airport pairs: Western Europe-US shows the value of open skies as routes and new entry proliferate
For Western Europe there is no bigger long haul market than North America. In terms of the number of airport pairs between the countries of Western Europe and long haul destination countries, connectivity to the United States dominates. There are more direct routes between Western Europe and the US than there are between Western Europe and the whole of Asia Pacific.
This report presents high level data on the numbers of airport pairs between each Western European country and the US and how these number have changed. EU-US liberalisation in 2008 has stimulated growth in the number of direct connections, although the global economic downturn impeded this for a while. However, the additional routes have not been spread evenly across Western European countries.
Since 2010, additional route numbers from Western Europe to the US have been greatest from the largest markets – the UK and the US – and from the smaller countries, particularly Ireland, Iceland and Norway. Countries in between, including France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, have hardly added any new US routes at all.
Eurowings: new Munich routes outsourced to airberlin. Frankfurt hub may be next for Lufthansa's LCC
When Lufthansa began to transfer point-to-point short haul routes to its LCC Germanwings in 2013 it specifically excluded routes to/from its two main hubs at Munich and Frankfurt. Although its two main hubs have been less penetrated by LCCs than many other major European airports, this is changing. Moreover, competitor LCCs are growing rapidly across Germany and in other Lufthansa Group home markets. Even Air France-KLM established a Munich base for its LCC Transavia in summer 2016 (but this is under review). More ominously, Ryanair is to enter Frankfurt in summer 2017.
Lufthansa first revealed in summer 2016 that it was considering opening a Munich base for its LCC operations, now grouped under the Eurowings brand. On 21-Dec-2016 it announced plans to base four A320 family aircraft at Munich for 32 Eurowings routes from summer 2017.
Perhaps it was always inevitable that Eurowings would eventually extend to selected routes from Frankfurt and Munich, but agreements with pilots were understood to have limited the group's flexibility. Confirmation that the operation of Eurowings routes at Munich will be outsourced to airberlin under wet lease appears to have loosened this restriction. Eurowings routes from Frankfurt are also being considered.