Hundreds of flights canceled Monday as strikes close Italian airspace

Nov 25, 2019

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Italian flag carrier Alitalia was forced to ground more than 130 flights on Monday as a four-hour strike by Italian air traffic controllers effectively closed Italian airspace. The strike lasted from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. local time (5 a.m. to 9 a.m. U.S. eastern time). As a result most flights to and from Italian airports were not able to land or depart.

Several flights to the United States were substantially delayed including Alitalia flight 604 from Milan’s Malpensa (MXP) to New York’s Kennedy Airport (JFK) which departed four hours late.

According to unions representing the striking workers, air traffic controllers based in Brindisi, Milan, Padua and Rome — those that control all of the airspace over Italy — took part in the strike. Additionally, ATC workers at Ancona, Brindisi, Perugia, Pescara and Rome Ciampino walked out.

(Image courtesy of FlightRadar24)
(Image courtesy of FlightRadar24)

A swath of flights between the U.K. and Italy were cancelled today, including:

  • Multiple British Airways services from London (LHR and LCY) to Rome (FCO), as well as some British Airways services between London Heathrow and Milan Linate (LIN), and London Gatwick (LGW) to Venice (VCE)
  • EasyJet services from Gatwick to Rome and Milan Linate, London Luton (LTN), Manchester (MAN) to Venice (VCE), Bristol (BRS) to Pisa (PSA)
  • Alitalia from London (various airports) to Rome and Milan Linate
  • Ryanair from London (STN) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) and Manchester (MAN) to Rome Ciampino (CIA)

Jet2 rescheduled its flights so it could operate after the strike period.

Alitalia was the most affected airline from the industrial action, with more than 100 flights cancelled in the four-hour period alone.

Also on Monday, Finnish carrier Finnair was forced to cancel flights as its employees underwent a solidarity strike with postal workers.

Featured photo by Emanuele Cremaschi/Getty Images.

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