UK holidaymakers planning to travel to Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain are being warned of possible disruption as various flights are set to be canceled due to strikes.
Ryanair cabin crew in the five European hotspots are set to go on strike, with Belgium the latest to announce strike plans which could affect British airmen – the first date set for this Friday June 24. Low-cost airline boss Michael O’Leary has warned the chaos will continue “throughout the summer” and passengers should prepare for a “less than satisfying experience”.
It comes as the UK has already faced weeks of disruption that has plagued the travel industry, with many airlines canceling thousands of flights due to staff shortages caused by job cuts during the coronavirus pandemic. On Monday, around 30 flights carrying up to 5,000 passengers at Heathrow Airport were canceled due to baggage handling issues.
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Mr O’Leary added: “This problem is going to persist particularly at airports like Gatwick and Heathrow throughout the summer. It will be worse at weekends and better during the week. There are hundreds of thousands of jobs in the UK that are frankly British workers don’t want to do.These problems won’t be solved until we start allowing people to do the work.
Earlier this month in Belgium, he also said: “We operate two thousand five hundred flights a day. Most of these flights will continue to operate even if there is a strike in Spain by a Mickey Mouse union or if Belgian cabin crew unions want to strike here.”
A Ryanair spokeswoman said: “We do not expect widespread disruption this summer. These minority union strikes are not supported by our crews.”
EasyJet cabin crew in Spain are also set to go on strike for nine days next month at the height of the summer holiday season. The low-cost airline’s staff is set to come out in three phases in July – between July 1-3, July 15-17 and July 29-31.
EasyJet’s walkout was organized by Spanish union USO, with news of the strike breaking just days after the tour operator revealed it would cut around 11,000 flights from its summer schedules. EasyJet’s Spanish crew receive a basic salary of €950 a month (£816), the union said, which excludes bonuses and supplements. However, the union said it wanted a 40% increase in the base pay of low-paid cabin crew.