Italian strikes ground dozens of flights to UK

Industrial action and weather conditions are causing disruptions across Europe

As Italian air-traffic controllers plan to launch a strike for Friday between 1 pm and 4 pm, hundreds of flight connections have been cancelled affecting thousands of passengers.

Alitalia, the carrier that is seeing the most disruption, was forced to cancel more than 100 flights, while dozens of services between Italy and the UK have been affected.

Alitalia was forced to cancel more than 100 flights — Shutterstock
Alitalia has been forced to cancel more than 100 flights — Shutterstock

Europe’s biggest budget carrier, Ryanair, had to ground many flights, including six between Rome and Catania in Sicily.

“Due to yet another Italian strike, Ryanair regrets to inform customers that it has been forced to cancel a number of flights on Friday (8 June)” the carrier said.

“All affected customers have been contacted by email and text message and advised of their options: a full refund, rebooking on to the next available flight or transferring to an alternative flight.

“As a result of this unjustified strike action, we also expect delays to flights to/from/over Italy and we advise customers due to travel on Friday to check the status of their flight on the Ryanair.com website.”

EasyJet said they were expecting a number of cancellations as well as potential delays.

British Airways announced the strike could impact flights to and from Milan, Venice and Rome.

“Some flights could face disruption, which is beyond our control, and we recognise that you may not wish to travel as a result. We have therefore introduced a more flexible rebooking policy to help affected customers travel on alternative dates and avoid the strike action,” it said.

Strikes in Italy were not the only issue Europe has to deal with as thunderstorms are forecast to cause problems. Eurocontrol is warning: “Thunderstorms and cumulonimbus activity expected over a large part of Europe today: expect disruption and delay in consequence.”

The air-traffic headquarters in Brussels also warns of congestion causing high delays at Gatwick and moderate delays at Lisbon. Low visibility is causing disruptions to passengers at Amsterdam.

Once the Italian strike has ended,  it is the turn of French air-traffic controllers in the Marseille Area Control Centre to walk out on Saturday and Sunday.