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EasyJet cancels 1,300 flights in June as air traffic control strikes continue

Air traffic control strikes in Europe are continuing to cause problems for EasyJet and other airlines. Picture: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

Air traffic control strikes in Europe are continuing to cause problems for EasyJet and other airlines. Picture: Barry Batchelor/PA Wire

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Fears of summer travel chaos at EasyJet are mounting after it revealed it cancelled nearly 1,300 flights last month – with no end in sight to air traffic control (ATC) strike action.

The budget airline, which flies from Stansted Airport, said 1,263 flights were cancelled in June. Around 900 were due to French and Italian strike action and a further 150 were caused by ATC restrictions and poor weather.

This compares with just 213 EasyJet flights cancelled a year earlier and is a marked increase on the 974 flights cancelled in May.

The Dublin-based carrier said ATC strikes over four weekends in June had led to more than 1,100 flight cancellations for the second month running.

It lays bare the travel troubles facing passengers heading into the key summer holiday travel season as the industrial action continues to wreak havoc.

Ryanair and British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) have recently joined forces to prepare a legal complaint to the European Commission over the crippling ATC strikes.

They will argue that EU law is being infringed by not adequately protecting flights over France as they claim the commission’s failure to tackle the issue is breaching freedom of movement for Europeans.

Air traffic control strikes are costly for airlines and hugely disruptive for passengers, especially in France, as many UK flights need to use the country’s air space or fly longer routes to avoid it.

But ATC action has become a regular headache for the industry in recent years, with 2017 said to be a record for strikes, with 41 days affected.

Despite the cancellations, EasyJet saw the number of passengers flown rise 2.3% to 7.9 million in June.

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