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Travel chaos as hundreds of flights across Italy cancelled amid air transport strike

Passengers wait for the check-in of their flights during a nationwide strike of airports ground staff, and check-in services.
Passengers wait for the check-in of their flights during a nationwide strike of airports ground staff, and check-in services. Copyright AP Photo
Copyright AP Photo
By Euronews with AP
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Hundreds of flights across Italy were cancelled Saturday forcing traveller to make alternate plans at the peak of tourist season

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“It got cancelled. My whole family, 35 of us. All our flights got messed up. It's horrible. It's really, really horrible" said Stefania Spatola from Philadelphia.

Flight cancellations are wreaking havoc in Italy after air transport unions went ahead with a planned strike two days after a train strike paralysed rail services.

Summertime in Italy is often the peak season for transport strikes, stranding commuters and tourists alike as unions press demands for better work contracts and conditions. 

AP Photo
Passengers look at a monitor with the departure times of flights during a nationwide strike of airports ground staff, and check-in services.AP Photo

National carrier ITA said it had cancelled 133 flights, most of them domestic but a few to European destinations such as Madrid, Amsterdam and Barcelona while low-cost airlines Ryanair and Vueling cancelled hundreds of other flights. Striking workers included pilots, flight attendants baggage handlers and airport personnel.

“We are not happy creating inconvenience to customers because that is not our target," said Di Marco Saraof the Filt-Cgil transport union. "Our focus would have been to be summoned earlier even by the ministry, not the day before, to try to defer or preempt the strike. We wanted to sit at the table and renew the contract.”

Unions Filt Cgil, Uiltrasporti and Ugl Trasporto said they called the strike over “absolutely unsatisfactory” contract disagreements with Malta Air, which operates Ryanair flights. 

Ryanair posted a note on its website apologising for cancellations and other disruptions due to the strike which it said was “beyond our control.”

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