| 2 December 2023, Saturday |

Europe’s strikes could spell more flights havoc into summer

Strikes throughout Europe have resulted in an increase in flight cancellations and delays, as well as a decrease in reservations to destinations such as Paris, according to statistics from travel businesses, despite attempts by airlines to avoid a recurrence of last year’s disruptions.

travel cancellations and delays of more than three hours increased across Europe over the Easter holiday weekend of April 5-11, most notably in France and the United Kingdom, according to statistics from travel claim management business AirHelp.

“The situation quickly deteriorated as France was sinking into the pension reform crisis. Charles de Gaulle airport is negatively affected, both as a destination and as a hub,” said Olivier Ponti, VP of Insights at travel data firm ForwardKeys.

In France, where air traffic control staff were on strike in recent weeks, 62% of flights were on time, compared with 75% in 2022 and 76% in 2019 before the pandemic brought international travel to a standstill, Airhelp data shared with Reuters showed.

Some 33,300 flights were cancelled this year over Easter, compared with 7,800 last year, while 9,000 flights were delayed by more than three hours, compared to 6,800 last year.

Transfers and planned stays through Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris dropped by around 75% compared to 2019 levels by mid-March, according to ForwardKeys.

Paris airports operator Aeroports de Paris (ADP.PA) estimated on Monday it lost around 470,000 passengers between January and March due to the strikes.

In Britain, border strikes also caused disruption at airports across the country, with airports in London facing the largest delays, according to AirHelp.

Around 73% of flights were on time, compared with 76% in 2022 and 81% in 2019. There were 33,700 flights cancelled, compared with 26,600 last year, while 10,800 flights, which made up 1% of all total flights, were delayed by more than three hours, up from 9,500 last year.

  • Reuters