Generating PDF

Airlines demand swift EU action to avert ATC strike fallout this summer

By  Brussels, — Last updated on 11 December 2023 Download as PDF

Brussels, 16 May 2023– Europe’s leading airlines are calling on the European Commission to step up to stop escalating industrial action from derailing summer travel for millions of passengers.

Already this year, a wave of strikes has impacted air travel in Europe resulting in over 3,000 flight cancellations and 23,000 flight delays disrupting the plans of over 10 million passengers. As the summer season ramps up, the potential for millions more passengers to have their travel plans ruined by strikes is high.

A4E is calling on the Commission to support Member States to ensure European passengers can continue to fly freely this summer. This can be achieved through:

  • Mandatory arbitration before ATC unions can threaten strike action
  • A 21-day advance notification of strike action
  • Providing a 72h advance individual notification of participation in industrial action
  • Protection of overflights, while ensuring this is not at the expense of departures and arrivals in the country where the strike originates.
  • Right of redress with ANSPs for the impact of disruption.

The lack of European response has prompted A4E member Ryanair to launch a petition calling on the European Commission to take action to protect EU passengers. The freedom of movement, a cornerstone of the EU, cannot be compromised by persistent disruptions. If Ryanair secures one million signatures, the Commission will have to respond within six months.

Laurent Donceel, acting MD of A4E, said, “While we respect the right to strike, the ripple effect of disruptions impacting flights between unrelated Member States is untenable. Millions of Europeans are eager to travel this summer, and strikes stand to shatter their plans.”

Donceel added, “We present a simple action plan to the European Commission to minimise passenger disruption this summer. It’s high time the Commission took decisive action to ensure smoother skies for the months ahead.”


Notes to Editor

  • A4E published on 16 May its Call for Action on ATC Strikes in Europe, please click here to access it.
  • In its petition, Ryanair calls on the European Commission to take action to protect EU passengers, the European Single Market and overflights during repeated French ATC strikes.

About A4E

Airlines for Europe (A4E) is Europe’s largest airline association. Based in Brussels, A4E works with policymakers to ensure aviation policy continues to connect Europeans with the world in a safe, competitive and sustainable manner. As a key initiator of aviation’s Destination 2050 roadmap, A4E and its members committed to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions for their own operations by 2050. With a modern fleet of over 3,300 aircraft, A4E airlines carried over 610 million passengers in 2022 and served nearly 2,000 destinations. Each year, A4E members transport more than 4 million tonnes of vital goods and equipment to more than 360 destinations either by freighters or passenger aircraft.

Media contacts

Kevin Hiney, Communications Director,, Tel. + 32 499 82 82 94