Business Irish

Friday 22 June 2018

'It's going to be a bad summer' - Ryanair's Michael O'Leary backs plea for solution to ATC crisis

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Michael O'Leary has backed his chief marketing officer's plea to solve the air traffic control crisis that has led to delays and cancellations across Europe.

Ryanair CMO Kenny Jacobs came under fire when he posted about his delayed flight from Dublin to Naples on LinkedIn on Tuesday.

In a later post, reacting to negative media reports, Mr Jacobs explained that he was not complaining about his own flight per se, but rather the knock-on impact the ATC issue was having for all passengers travelling across the region.

"As a regular air passenger, I understand the frustration of customers when ATC staff shortages and strikes disrupt flights. It's important to note this is affecting all airlines in Europe," he wrote.

Speaking at an event to celebrate Ryanair's first year in Naples on Wednesday, Mr Jacobs said that it's going to be "a bad summer for customers".

"The only person that's losing here is the European consumer," he said.

Last month, Ryanair cancelled over 1,100 flights as ATC strikes and staff shortages took its toll.

According to the airline, more than 200,000 customers had flights cancelled during the month.

CEO Michael O’Leary has now called on the UK and German Governments, and the EU Commission, "to take urgent and decisive action".

"Yet again this weekend, French ATC will strike on Saturday and Sunday leading to hundreds of flights being cancelled, disrupting the holiday plans of thousands of passengers.

"Many of these flights don’t even touch France, yet they will be disruptive because French ATC requires airlines to cancel overflights while they protect French domestic routes. Europe’s airlines are also suffering thousands of ATC delays/cancellations because of staff shortages especially in German and UK ATC providers."

Mr O'Leary said that 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.

"Urgent action must now be taken by the UK and German Governments, and the EU Commission, otherwise thousands more flights and millions of passengers will be disrupted, particularly in the peak months of July and August, unless this ATC staffing crisis is addressed".

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