ITA Airways cancels flights due to Italian airport staff strike on Monday

Italian airline ITA said it had cancelled some domestic flights on Monday September 12th as ground staff began a 24-hour strike at airports around the country.

ITA Airways cancels flights due to Italian airport staff strike on Monday
Italy's new national airline ITA, which replaced Alitalia, confirmed some flight cancellations due to strike action on Monday. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Limited disruption was expected at Italian airports on Monday as unionised ground staff held a 24-hour strike, reportedly to demand an increase in wages and improved work contracts. 

Italy’s ITA Airways said it had cancelled several domestic flights departing from airports in Bologna, Rome, Florence and Venice in advance of the strike action, and warned that other scheduled flights may be subject to changes.

The airline said affected passengers would be rebooked on the first available flights.

ITA advised passengers planning to travel on Monday to check their flight’s status on its website before heading to the airport.

No other airlines had confirmed cancellations as of Monday morning, though some delays were expected.

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

Airports including Venice, Treviso, Verona, Florence and Pisa advised travellers flying to contact their airlines and check online flight schedules for real-time updates.

The strike action was not expected to cause major disruption overall: not all ground staff are represented by the unions participating in the strike, and Italian law mandates flights go ahead as scheduled at certain times of day between (7am-10am and 6pm-9pm).

Other flights can also be listed as essential and protected from strike action by Italian air traffic authority Enac.

Passengers may be entitled to compensation from their airline if flights are cancelled or significantly delayed.

For further information on the compensation you might be entitled to and in which cases, check our guide here.

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Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

Transport strikes are a frequent occurrence in Italy, but how disruptive are they usually and what else should you consider if you’re planning to travel? Here’s what you need to know.

Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

Let’s be honest: strikes in Italy are hardly unusual. 

If you’re wondering whether the news about upcoming transport strikes means you should rethink your travel plans, here are some things to bear in mind.

Travel disruption

Strikes are of course intended to cause disruption, and in that they’re often pretty effective (Italian workers have had enough practice, after all).

So there is often a possibility that your plane, train, bus or ferry might be delayed or cancelled.

But just because there is a transport strike in the news, don’t assume that everything will be cancelled.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s transport strikes will impact travel on Friday

Unions often target transport services because these are highly visible, and these are also the type of strikes that tend to get international media coverage, because they affect visitors to Italy.

But strikes in Italy vary hugely in how much disruption they cause, to which services, and where.

It also depends on which unions are involved – the Italian union landscape is pretty complex and divides along political lines so that, for example, train drivers at a single company could be represented by any one of several different unions.

For this reason, strikes only really cause widespread disruption when all or most of the unions agree to strike on the same day. 

Otherwise you’re likely to see some services cancelled but others running as normal. 

If this is the case you will probably be able to get to your destination, it might just take a little more time with unusually crowded trains/buses.

If you have a pre-booked ticket for a cancelled service, you can usually take the next one at no extra charge.

If you’re travelling by plane things are obviously less flexible, and the best thing to do is check with your airline.

In many recent cases, disruption and delays to flights have been caused not by Italian airline staff striking, but by baggage handlers or air traffic control going on strike.

When this happens, again it does not necessarily involve every airport in Italy, or every member of staff at an airport, so it rarely causes as much chaos as you might expect.

And a minimum level of ‘essential’ service is always guaranteed at certain times of day when there’s a strike on.

Check strike timetables

Essential workers such as transport workers are required to give notice of their intention to strike, which means that some operators create ‘strike timetables’ of the services that will be running, or sometimes lists of cancelled flights, which are usually available at least 24 hours in advance. 

You can use these to see what is running and whether it’s worth travelling or not.

With strikes being so heavily regulated in Italy, the transport ministry also helpfully compiles an official strike calendar, which you can find here.

While the official list of strikes sometimes looks long at first glance, you’ll notice that many of these events affect only one small part of the country, or that only members of one union are participating.

Countless small, localised strikes happen in Italy every year, and most of them barely get any media coverage at home, never mind internationally. 

A nationwide, 24-hour transport strike is more likely to cause problems for passengers – but again, it all depends where you’re going, at what time, and how.

Unions always claim in advance that their protest will bring the country to a complete standstill. This is generally just a rhetorical flourish that you can probably ignore – check the strike timetables for the full picture. 

You can also check out The Local’s strike section HERE for the latest news on strikes and which services will be affected.