Europe’s air travellers may find themselves well and truly grounded on October 10th, following a call by the European air traffic controllers’ organisation to down tools across the continent.
It is the first time in over a decade that the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) has called its 14,000 members out on strike.
The ATCEUC says the action is “against the European Commission’s attempt to deregulate every profession that ensures the safety of passengers in the skies”.
At issue is the European Commission’s proposals for a reform of the Single European Sky II regime along with its Reference Period 2 (RP2) targets.
The organisation says that the new SES2+ and RP2 proposals together call for a tenfold increase in flight safety by 2020, but at the same time a reduction in the cost of air traffic management and related services by 50 per cent.
“The real objectives of SES2+ and RP2 are clear: to liberalize the provision of Air Navigation Services, to deregulate the working conditions of thousands of staff in ATM and eventually to put this essential public interest service in the hands of a few wealthy individuals and companies that have been lobbying to this effect,” says ATCEUC from its headquarters in Aix-en-Provence.
“ATCEUC cannot accept this. On October 10th, air traffic controllers in 28 European countries will show their opposition to SES2+ and RP2,” the organisation’s executive board says.
Not all national European air traffic controller organisations are members of the ATCEUC – British, Austrian and Swedish controllers, for example, are not.
Nonetheless, action by even half of the ATCEUC’s member organisations would have a serious affect on air travel around Europe on the day in question.
The Danish Air Traffic Controllers Association DATCA is a member of ATCEUC.
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Edited by Julian Isherwood