Ryanair calls for urgent action to prevent air traffic control strikes causing summer 'meltdown'

Alexandra Rogers
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Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary said the disruption was 'unacceptable' (Source: Getty)

Ryanair has called on EU governments to intervene in the ongoing crisis over Air Traffic Control (ATC) services, warning that if something is not done there will be a "meltdown" this summer.

The budget airline has issued its call to arms as it prepares to grapple with more strikes by ATC staff in France this weekend.

The budget airline said that during the course of May over 117,000 flights were delayed, with ATC staff shortages and strikes accounting for 61 per cent – more than 71,000 – of the affected flights.

More than 56,000 flights were delayed more than 15 minutes, well over the EU delay threshold of 0.5 minutes per flight. Ryanair warned that current forecasts pointed towards the rest of 2018 suffering delays of 1.5 minutes per flight, more than treble the EU target.

Read more: Ryanair claims new UK base 'not vote of confidence' in UK aviation

Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary said many flights were disrupted despite never touching down in France because of airspace restrictions.

He said UK and German ATC staff members were "hiding behind" poor weather conditions, which has also led to delays, to disguise poor staffing levels.

"These disruptions are unacceptable, and we call on the UK and German governments and the EU Commission to take urgent and decisive action to ensure that ATC providers are fully staffed and that overflights are not affected when national strikes take place, as they repeatedly do in France," he said.

He continued: "Europe’s ATC providers are approaching the point of meltdown with hundreds of flights being cancelled daily simply because they don’t have enough staff to deal with them."

France especially has been the hotspot for the ATC strikes which have arisen over the French government's labour reform plans.

However Ryanair also tweeted this morning that German ATC staff shortages had caused delays:

Read more: Thousands of passengers face chaos over French air traffic control strikes

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