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EasyJet to launch legal challenge after taking £25m hit from air traffic control strikes

PUBLISHED: 08:58 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 08:58 18 July 2018

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

EasyJet is to join rivals in launching a legal complaint against the European Commission over air traffic control strikes which have so far cost it more than £25m.

The airline’s boss Johan Lundgren said he believed there was a case the EU law is being infringed by not adequately protecting flights over France.

Failing to tackle the problem is breaching freedom of movement for Europeans, Mr Lundgren claims.

EasyJet plans to file the legal challenge next week.

It comes after Ryanair and British Airways owner International Airlines Group (IAG) recently revealed plans to join forces for a complaint to the Commission over its inaction over the strikes.

EasyJet said it had cancelled 2,606 flights in its third quarter to June 30 due largely to air traffic control strikes, which sent costs soaring by £25 million as it has had to compensate customers.

It now expects costs for the full year to rise by around 3% as a result of the disruption, which has so far been greater than seen during the whole of 2017.

Mr Lundgrun said: “It’s been a challenging year so far and we estimate that this will not go away.”

The group also revealed that the UK’s summer heatwave could hit demand for late bookings in its final quarter, with the recent World Cup tournament also potentially putting some passengers off travelling.

But the airline upped its full-year profit outlook to between £550m and £590m despite the strikes impact, thanks to strong overall demand from passengers.

Its profit guidance compares with previous guidance of £530m to £580m.

It said revenues in its third quarter rose by 14% to £1.6bn, while it flew 9.3% more passengers at 24.4 million over the three months.

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