The various strikes in global aviation last week caused problems for more than 70,000 passengers. This is calculated by EUclaim, which assists passengers in the event of delays. Aviation personnel in France, Germany and Spain, among others, went on strike last week. The strikes had caused nearly 5,000 flights to be canceled or delayed by more than three hours.
A week earlier, some 34,000 people were still experiencing major delays or canceled flights, says Paul Vaneker of EUclaim. ‘Mainly because of the strikes, that has risen to 70,000. It has a huge impact on the traveler.’
However, the number of passengers who are also entitled to compensation is limited, explains Vaneker. Passengers are not entitled to compensation in circumstances beyond the airline’s control. That is the case with a strike by a third party: think of air traffic control or security guards.’
In France, air traffic control stopped work for eight days. Airport staff in Spain and Germany are on strike. In the event of strikes by the airline’s own staff, passengers are entitled to compensation.
Passengers can recover costs incurred due to their delay from the airline, says Vaneker. ‘These claims concern hotel stays and, for example, food and drink. That amounts to around 500 euros per passenger.’
This week there will again be many strikes in aviation: there are work stoppages in France, Greece and Spain. The Netherlands is not going on strike, yet the strikes also have a lot of influence on Dutch travellers. EUclaim counted 188 delayed flights to and from the Netherlands last week, compared to 72 flights in the week before.
All flights to and from Greece on Thursday will be cancelled. Air traffic controllers, among others, are on strike for 24 hours that day. Several major Greek unions have called for the strike following a serious train accident two weeks ago.
The unions demand a thorough investigation into the exact circumstances of that accident, in which a passenger train and a freight train collided head-on. 57 people were killed, many of them less than thirty years old. The trains ran on the same track due to human error, but that could happen because the automatic signals have not worked for years.
Since then there have been regular strikes and demonstrations against the government in Greece, because it has neglected the railway for years. The government acknowledges that there are problems and would like to turn to the European Union for financing the maintenance and improvement of the rail network.