Ryanair announced (05-Oct-2010) it has called for the European Commission to remove the "right to strike" from air transport services such as air traffic control, dismiss ATC workers who participate in illegal strikes and to reform the EU261 passenger rights legislation, which the airline stated "has again been shown to be unfit for purpose during last week’s ATC strikes in Belgium, France and Spain". Under EU261 regulations, airlines must bear the costs of these disruptions without any recourse against governments or workers on strike. Ryanair has cancel 1,400 services and delayed 12,000 others as a result of Belgian, French and Spanish ATC strikes. Ryanair stated it plans to take legal action against Belgocontrol. [more]
Ryanair: “How many more times will Europe’s airlines and their passengers be disrupted by unnecessary airspace closures, strikes and work to rules before the EU Commission finally takes some action? Striking ATC staff are the modern equivalent of highwaymen. They don’t care about consumers, they don’t care about passengers, they repeatedly strike because they know they can shut down Europe’s skies and hold EU Governments and passengers to ransom. It is ridiculous that Belgian, French and Spanish ATC controllers can repeatedly strike without any financial penalty, while airlines suffer a ‘right to care’ to passengers and absorb the costs of these un-necessary disruptions ... The single greatest cause of ATC delays are EU Government-owned and mismanaged ATC services. It’s time the ‘right to strike’ within this essential service was removed, like it is in the US. If these people don’t want to work, then replace them with military and other Air Traffic Controllers who do wish to work. The EU Commission must act to now end this ATC chaos.” Michael O’Leary, CEO. Source: Ryanair, 05-Oct-2010.