500 Flights Scrapped In Italy In A Single Day Amid Strikes

On Sunday, July 17th, disruptions occurred at several Italian airports after pilots union and ATC workers went on a planned four-hour strike. Both strikes, although organized separately, overlapped for three hours and resulted in 500 canceled flights on a busy vacation travel day, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.

A statement by unions FILT-CGIL and Uiltrasporti said,

“We comply with the decision taken by the Guarantor, but at the same time we urge an intervention by the Government to open as soon as possible a discussion table with low cost airlines and verify compliance with Article 203 of the Relaunch Decree on the application of the minimum wages provided for by the national air transport contract, a request that we have already expressly made in recent days to the Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility. We hope to have concrete answers as soon as possible that will ensure decent working conditions for workers , so as to avoid further inconvenience to passengers in this summer period”.

As the ongoing chaos at many airports in Europe continues with no signs of ending anytime soon, Italy’s services have remained largely unaffected. However, all that changed on Sunday with approximately 500 flight cancellations across several airlines owing to massive walkouts by unions demanding better pay and working conditions.


Around 500 flights to and from Italy were canceled on Sunday, affecting 40,000 passengers. Photo: Getty Images

Around 500 flights cancelled

According to the Italian pilot union FILT CGIL, 500 flights were canceled on Sunday as a direct result of the planned strike action. Ryanair was the single worst affected airline, with approximately half of all reported cancellations. Other low-cost airlines like Air Malta, easyJet, and Volotea. Employees of cabin crew agency CrewLink also participated in the strike on Sunday.

All in all, the pilots union claims 40,000 passengers were affected during the strike, which lasted from 14:00 to 18:00 local time. The strike was initially planned for 24 hours, but the duration was curtailed after the Guarantee Commission on strikes intervened in the interest of passengers.

The pilot unions and other striking employees are demanding better working conditions, starting from the availability of meals and water for cabin crew and pilots on long working days. Another ask is for the cancellation of agreements to cut salaries and restore minimum wages as stated by the national air transport contract.

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The air traffic controllers’ strike began an hour before at 13:00 and ended up exacerbating the effects of the planned pilot and cabin crew strike action.

Several low-cost carriers like Ryanair, Air Malta, easyJet, and Volotea were affected by the strike. Photo: Getty Images

Results expected on July 20th

The FILT CGIL union released a statement confirming “very high adherence” to the strike on Sunday. Workers participated in high numbers, and as a result, over 250 flights of the Ryanair Group were cancelled. The next step involves waiting for “concrete answers” from the Italian Ministry of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility just two days from now, on July 20th.

The union said,

“If we do not get satisfactory answers, we will mobilize to obtain what pilots and flight attendants of the Ryanair Group legitimately claim.”

What do you make of this industrial strike action by Italian unions and employees? Have you ever been affected by such strikes? Please, share your experience in the comments.

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