Strike in Italy grounds around 1,000 flights

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Strike in Italy grounds around 1,000 flights
Passengers wait at Rome's Fiumicino airport during a strike. (Photo by ANDREAS SOLARO / AFP)

An airport staff strike grounded hundreds of flights all over Italy on Saturday, affecting 250,000 travellers in one of the world's top tourist destinations.


Some 1,000 flights in total, both domestic and international, were cancelled as a result of the strike by ground crew, airport and airline authorities said.

Italy's strike affected some 250,000 travellers, while in Belgium 120 flights due to depart and arrive from Charleroi airport were cancelled on Saturday and Sunday, triggered by a walkout of budget carrier Ryanair pilots over working conditions.

The long-planned strike in Italy was due to last from 10am to 6pm, as unions demand a new collective contract six years after the previous one expired.

It came as a record heatwave, which the national weather service said was "one of the most intense of all time", brings temperatures of at least 40 degrees Celsius to Rome and 48C to the islands of Sicily and Sardinia.

Airports in Rome saw some 200 flights cancelled, authorities said.


Flights by Malta Air, which handles transfers for popular budget carriers Ryanair, Vueling and Ita Airways, were also affected after pilots and crew held a separate walkout.

Milan's airports saw some 150 flight cancellations, while dozens of others were grounded in Turin and Palermo.


A total of 118 flights were cancelled to and from Naples, the city airport's management company said on Friday.

Transport Minister Matteo Salvini called the strikers to exercise "common sense" so as "not to harm millions of other workers and tourists".




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