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Budget airline cancels 1,100 flights due to air traffic control strikes

PUBLISHED: 09:30 03 July 2018 | UPDATED: 07:49 04 July 2018

Ryanair passengers were hit by strikes in June Picture: PETER BYRNE/PA WIRE

Ryanair passengers were hit by strikes in June Picture: PETER BYRNE/PA WIRE

Budget airline Ryanair says it cancelled more than 1,100 flights in June due to air traffic control strikes and staff shortages.

The month of travel misery left more than 210,000 passengers facing flight cancellations.

The Dublin-based carrier, which has a strong presence at Stansted Airport in Essex, said the cancelletions followed strikes over four weekends in June, as well as staff shortages in the UK, Germany and France.

This compared with just 41 cancellations in June last year.

The group has called for action from the European Union to help tackle disruption from the strikes.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “Regrettably, over 210,000 Ryanair customers had their flights cancelled in June because of four weekends of ATC (air traffic control) strikes and repeated UK, German and French ATC staff shortages.

“Ryanair calls for urgent action by the EU Commission and European governments to ameliorate the effect of ATC strikes and staff shortages in the UK, Germany and France from disrupting the travel plans of millions of Europe’s consumers this summer.”

Fellow airline easyJet has also revealed the impact of the strike woes in recent weeks, cancelling nearly 1,000 flights in May, as widespread thunderstorms also took their toll.

Air traffic control strikes are costly for airlines and hugely disruptive for passengers, especially in France, as many UK flights need to use the country’s air space or fly longer routes to avoid it.

But ATC action has become a regular headache for the industry in recent years, with 2017 said to be a record for strikes, with 41 days affected.

Despite the strike action, Ryanair said it still flew 7% more passengers last month, at 12.6 million.

Its load factor - a measure of how well airlines fill their planes - remained unchanged at 96%.

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