Airlines blame ATC and bad weather for days of flight disruption 

ATC blamed for flight disruption
By Linsey McNeill
Home » Airlines blame ATC and bad weather for days of flight disruption 

Ryanair issued an apology today to passengers for ‘excessive’ flights delays yesterday, which it blamed on air traffic control staff shortages.

On Sunday, 93 – or 16% – of its early morning departures were delayed, which the airline described as ‘unacceptable’.

Meanwhile, EasyJet is understood to have cancelled dozens of flights from London Gatwick on Saturday, with the airline telling The Independent that air traffic control restrictions across Europe as a result of thunderstorms and capacity restrictions were to blame.

The cancellations were in addition to the 78 flights easyJet was forced to cancel on Friday due to an aborted take-off at Gatwick by a British Airways plane.

Wizz Air also warned that weather conditions and ‘recent ATC challenges’ for expected ‘significant disruptions’ to its flight schedule ‘in the coming days’.

It added: “These external factors are affecting airlines industry-wide, including Wizz Air, and are beyond our control.”

In a statement on its website, Ryanair said: “ATC services, which have had the benefit of no French ATC strike disruption this summer, continue to underperform (despite flight volumes being 5% behind 2019 levels) with repeated ‘staff shortages’.”

The problems last week were compounded by an ‘equipment failure’ in the Maastricht air traffic control centre, said Ryanair.

Last Thursday, almost a third of its 3,500 flights were late due to ATC delays, it said.

Chief Operations Officer Neal McMahon added: “ATC services in Europe this summer are at their worst levels ever. 

“Ryanair and many other European airlines are having our schedules repeatedly delayed, flights cancelled, and passengers disrupted due to the mismanagement of European ATC.”

Ryanair claimed that while Europe ATC fees have risen to record levels over the past three years, staffing and service levels have ‘continued to decline’.

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