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Air traffic strike set for 10 October

By Dave Keating  -  03.09.2013 / 18:50 CET
Unions to demonstrate against Commission's efforts to speed up European Single Sky
An umbrella group of air traffic controller unions has called for its 14,000 members to strike on 10 October to protest against the European Commission's push to force member states to make good on their commitment to create a Single European Sky.  

Member states missed a December 2012 deadline to combine the European Union's 28 national airspaces into nine functional blocs, agreed in a 2004 directive. In response, the Commission proposed in June to give the directive more teeth. The new proposal would give more powers to Eurocontrol, the international organisation that monitors European air-traffic control. The new rules would set strict targets, and empower the Commission to act against member states that do not co-operate.   

The new proposal was followed by a limit strike by some air traffic controllers on 13 June. The strike mostly affected France, where 40% of the country's flights were cancelled.  

The strike on 10 October would be far larger. It is the first time in ten years that the Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC), an umbrella organisation of European unions, has called on all of its members across the 28 member states to strike.  

“The real objectives [of the Commission proposal] are clear: to liberalise 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,” ATCEUC said in a statement issued today.  

But the Commission argues that the current EU system is wasteful in time and money, inducing airlines to follow illogical routes around countries to avoid incurring cumulative national fees. The Commission estimates that, if the situation in Europe persists, congestion costs will increase by around 50% by 2050. Air passenger and airline associations have supported the proposal. They said the lack of progress is costing the EU €14 million a day and is causing unnecessary carbon emissions.
© 2014 European Voice. All rights reserved.
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