Ryanair To Operate “Hand Baggage Only” Flights


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Ryanair To Operate “Hand Baggage Only” Flights

By Eddy Metcalf

September 28, 2010 - Ryanair confirmed that it will operate ‘hand baggage only’ flights to and from Spain on Wednesday, September 29th as it called on the EU Commission to take urgent action to prevent more ATC strikes and delays.

As European airlines and passengers suffer further disruption from Spanish ATC strikes planned for Wednesday, just one week after Ryanair was forced to cancel over 250 flights due to strike action by French ATC. 

Ryanair condemned the failure of European Governments to reform ATC services or to end these repeated ATC strikes, no shows, and work to rules which have cancelled or delayed thousands of flights for millions of passengers across Europe.


Ryanair called for the EU to follow the example shown by Ronald Reagan in the early 1980’s when he fired and replaced U.S. Air Traffic Controllers after they went on strike. Europe’s ATC is an essential service and these protected civil service workers should not be allowed to strike or hold passengers to ransom in this way.  National ATC providers should be deregulated and allowed to compete with each other in a system that will allow one country to manage the airspace of neighboring countries to prevent flights being cancelled or delayed during industrial action. 

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said “Europe’s airlines and passengers have suffered at the hands of ATC providers all summer long and now, ahead of yet another Spanish ATC strike, Ryanair is calling on the EU to take action to prevent further strike action.  Ryanair will not allow its passengers to be inconvenienced further by the selfish strike action by Europe’s ATC providers and will operate flights to/from Spain with hand-luggage only on the Wednesday 29th September. 

“Action must be taken at EU level to ensure that the ‘right to strike’ is removed from essential services such as ATC and competition must be introduced across Europe’s ATC providers to ensure that a strike in one country is not be allowed to disrupt million of passengers’ travel plans.” 

The French air traffic control strike had brought air travel to a virtual standstill, some provincial terminals did not open at all. The 24 hour strike has ground 90 percent of air travel and is expected to last until Tuesday morning. British Airways reported it had cancelled nearly 90% of its flights to France and has had to re-rout other flights around France’s air space.


French Air traffic controllers had a one day strike on September 24th which had a major impact on flight travel in and out of French air space. This strike is not just about air traffic controllers, it is about all workers in the country of France. Hundreds of unions protesting reforms that would raise the country’s state pension age for all workers in France from 60 to 62 by 2018.

France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy has indicated despite protest he will move forward with the overhaul of the country’s pension plan reform of raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 and also raise the age at which people are entitled to a full pension from 65 to 67 in an effort to create needed revenue to finance pensions and alleviate public spending. In Spain, unions have called for a general strike for Wednesday to stop pension reform in that country. Minimumal rail and air transport service will be provided.


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