UPDATE: Further airline strikes in Italy continue to disrupt travel

Travellers flying into and out of Italy are advised to check the status of their flight on Wednesday as aircrew and air traffic controllers continue strike action.

UPDATE: Further airline strikes in Italy continue to disrupt travel
Italy aircrew strikes will affect travel on Wednesday. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

Dozens of flights have been cancelled to and from Italy on Wednesday, as Italian air traffic controllers continue to strike.

Some airlines will be affected throughout the day, following air travel disruption caused earlier by union strikes.

Italian unions Filt (Italian Federation of Transport Workers) and Uiltrasporti (Italian Union of Transport Workers) had called a nation-wide cabin crew strike.

It saw pilots and flight attendants of low-cost airlines Volotea, EasyJet and Ryanair (including sister airlines Malta Air and Crewlink) stage a walkout from 10am to 2pm.

WizzAir, meanwhile, has cancelled all flights to/from Linate and Malpensa airports due to the air traffic control strike – this is currently for the hours 10am – 6pm.

Flights to and from the international airports of Venice, Treviso, Bologna and Pisa will remain operational.

Some airports have reported their own strike times, such as Milan Bergamo airport, who advise passengers that flights will be affected from 10am to 6pm.

Meanwhile, ITA airways has reported flight disruption of 24 hours due to air traffic controllers’ strikes.

“The industrial action could affect the schedule of ITA Airways flights on June 8th. The airline was therefore forced to cancel several domestic and international flights scheduled for June 8th,” it said in a statement.

You can find a list of their cancelled flights here.

British Airways has also experienced flight cancellations, with passengers taking to Twitter to express their concern for travel plans.

Ryanair advised passengers in a statement that, “Due to the air traffic controllers’ strike at the airports of Milan Bergamo, Milan Malpensa, Turin, Genoa, Cuneo, Verona and Parma, we have been forced to cancel some flights on Wednesday 8 June.”

“Affected customers will be notified by e-mail/SMS; however, we invite all passengers who have to travel to/from Italy on Wednesday 8 June to check the status of their flight on the Ryanair app before going to the airport,” it added.

For Ryanair, reasons for strike action include “the failed revision of minimum salary agreements… arbitrary wage cuts, the company’s refusal to grant minimum annual leave over the summer and the lack of food and water for cabin personnel”.

EasyJet and Volotea staff are striking for similar reasons, with the former protesting against the “crushing of workers’ rights that has recently culminated with a series of unjustified layoffs” and the latter opposing “unacceptable salary cut requests”.

EasyJet informed passengers of the walkout earlier today, between 10am and 2pm, on its website.

“Like all airlines operating to and from Italy, we may see some disruption to our flying programme on this date.  We advise customers travelling to or from Italy on Wednesday 8th June to allow additional time to travel to and from the airport and please continue to check flight tracker for further updates,” it said in a statement.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

The airline said it’s “working to minimise the impact to flights, however on the day there may be delays and disruption caused by this strike.”

Ryanair plane landing in Minsk

Ryanair’s cabin personnel will strike from 10am to 2pm on Wednesday, June 8th. Photo by Petras MALUKAS / AFP.

It added that any strike action is “outside of (their) control”, but that they are doing “all they can” to minimise disruption to affected flights.

In a joint statement released on Monday by the Italian unions, Filt and Uiltrasporti said that the strike had been organised in response to the “impossibility to have an open discussion about the issues that have afflicted cabin crew members for months on end now”.

Both Filt and Uiltrasporti have already warned that “in the absence of concrete signs (of improvement), the strike will only be the first in a long series of staged actions which will run through the entire summer”.

It is likely that a number of scheduled flights heading into or out of the country may be significantly delayed or even cancelled.

For those intending to travel with any of the above-mentioned carriers throughout Wednesday, travellers are advised to contact their airline for updates.

In the event of delays and/or cancellations, the rights of all passengers are protected by EU regulation EC 261. This applies to any air passenger flying within the EU/Schengen zone, arriving in the EU/Schengen zone from a non-EU country by means of a EU-based airline (all airlines involved in tomorrow’s strike are EU-based) or departing from the EU/Schengen zone.  

It holds airlines financially accountable for any flight disruptions that they are responsible for. That includes disruptions caused by airline staff strikes, such as pilots, cabin crew, airline engineers and any other employee working directly for the company.

Should your flight be significantly delayed or cancelled, you might be entitled to receive compensation from your airline. 

Please note, The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For further information on what you might be entitled to and in which cases, check our guide here.

You can also find information provided by claims management company AirHelp

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EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example.