Brace for more delays and air strikes this year
Irish holidaymakers need to brace for delays to their flights this summer as Europe wrestles with a shortage of air traffic controllers and inevitable strike action.
But Eamonn Brennan said he's hopeful there won't be as many strikes in France this year. The former head of the Irish Aviation Authority is now the director general of Brussels-based air traffic agency Eurocontrol.
Speaking to journalists in Madrid, Mr Brennan also said flight delays in Europe cost the region's economy €17.6bn last year - including the cost of passenger compensation paid by airlines.
Each minute of a delay costs about €100. Last year was the busiest ever for flights in Europe, but 26pc of all flights were delayed.
The EU's 261 rule ensures passengers are entitled to sometimes quite significant compensation when flights are delayed or cancelled.
Mr Brennan dismissed Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary's suggestion the shortage of air traffic controllers in Europe could be addressed by faster training. Mr O'Leary said it should only take six months.
"That's not feasible," said Mr Brennan. "On average, it takes three years to train an air traffic controller - maybe even a little bit longer. It's not that easy."