Passengers travelling to and from Italy were set to face major delays and cancellations on Saturday, October 1st after Italian unions FILT-CGIL and Uiltrasporti confirmed a national airline strike on Wednesday.
Staff from Volotea, Easyjet and Ryanair will hold a 24-hour walkout, whereas Vueling staff will strike for a total of four hours, from 1pm to 5pm, unions said.
At the time of writing, no details were immediately available as to exactly which flights would be affected, though scheduled flights with these carriers were said to be at risk of being delayed or even cancelled.
The Italian Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) confirmed on Wednesday that a number of flights would be guaranteed on the day of the strike.
Flights scheduled to depart between 7am and 10am and between 6pm and 9pm were expected to run regularly, as were flights to and from Italy’s major islands (Sicily and Sardinia).
All intercontinental flights were also expected to run on Saturday, though ENAC strongly advised passengers to check the status of their journey with their carrier prior to setting off.
The upcoming strike will be the latest in a long series of demonstrations that rocked Europe’s airline industry over the summer, causing significant disruption to thousands of air passengers.
As previously reported, the strike was called in protest against employers’ failure to “grant acceptable working conditions and wages that are in line with minimum national salaries”.
Unions also slammed Spanish airline Vueling’s decision to lay off 17 flight attendants based in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport “after months of hard work and professionalism”.
The last significant strike was held on Monday, September 12th, when a 24-hour national strike action from unionised ground staff caused Italy’s flag carrier, ITA Airways, to cancel several domestic flights.
On that occasion, ITA said affected passengers were rebooked on the first available flights.
In the event of delays 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 the strike are EU-based) or departing from the EU/Schengen zone.
According to this regulation, airlines are financially accountable for any journey disruption they are responsible for. That includes disruptions caused by airline staff strikes. Therefore, should your flight be significantly delayed or cancelled, you might be entitled to receive compensation from your airline.