Tuesday 21 October 2014

Flights back on as air traffic controllers end strike

Sam Griffin, Aideen Sheehan and Claire McCormac

Published 26/06/2014 | 02:30

Anna O'Flanagan, Deirdre Duke and Chloe Watkins, members of the Ireland Ladies Hockey team, at Dublin airport before flying to Milan for matches against Wales and Italy, their flight was not affected by the air traffic controllers strike. Picture: Damien Eagers
Anna O'Flanagan, Deirdre Duke and Chloe Watkins, members of the Ireland Ladies Hockey team, at Dublin airport before flying to Milan for matches against Wales and Italy, their flight was not affected by the air traffic controllers strike. Picture: Damien Eagers

THOUSANDS of families breathed a sigh of relief after the French air traffic controllers' strike, which had wreaked travel chaos on airline passengers across Europe, was called off.

However, airline passengers are being warned there may be some minor delays today as Belgian air traffic controllers are striking for a number of hours.

Airlines are also working to reschedule passengers whose flights were cancelled over the past number of days by the action in France.

The union representing the workers said the action had been ended after talks with the French government, who unions said had recognised "the importance of investment in the sector".

Ryanair, which had been forced to cancel over 400 flights since the action began, said flights would proceed as normal today as striking staff return to work.

"All Ryanair scheduled flights on Thursday 26 will operate as normal," the airline stated.

"All booked customers should proceed to the departure airport as normal."

Aer Lingus said they plan to operate a full schedule but there will be "potential delays".

Around 26 Ryanair flights into and out of Ireland were cancelled yesterday affecting up to 4,000 passengers, with 30,000 customers in total discommoded throughout Europe.

A two-hour walkout by Belgian air traffic controllers last night affected eight Ryanair flights but a spokesman said he didn't expect any further disruption following the conclusion of that action.

"The challenge now is to reaccommodate affected passengers.

"The options open to people are a full refund, but we will work to reroute people or get them on the next available flight where possible," Robin Kiely told the Irish Independent.

Airlines will now begin to count the cost of the devastating strikes. Some Ryanair passengers took to Twitter to complain of being forced to pay to rebook flights when their own were cancelled in the last two days.

The Commission for Aviation Regulation said it had a number of queries from passengers about their rights.

Ryanair said it "fully sympathised" with customers whose flights were cancelled or delayed and encouraged those seeking a refund to visit the company's website.

There was better news for Ireland's ladies hockey team who were able to jet out of Dublin Airport yesterday without any delays despite a few concerns that their flight might be cancelled.

Passengers flying today are advised to keep checking their airline's website and to also get to the airport early as there will be extra people who are taking rescheduled flights.

Irish Independent

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