Could European Airport Strikes Complicate Your Summer Travel Plans?

Thousands of flights could be affected each day

Air traffic control tower in Copenhagen
The Kastrup Tower at Copenhagen Airport in Kastrup, Denmark.
LISELOTTE SABROE/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Are you thinking about traveling to Europe this summer? While there are plenty of great reasons to cross the Atlantic and take in the sights on the continent in question, this summer is shaping up to be a more challenging stretch of time to venture there than in pre-pandemic summers past. And now, there’s something else to consider if you’re planning to fly to Europe in the coming months: air traffic controllers might be on strike.

There are a number of reasons why industries all over Europe are experiencing strikes right now; Vox’s Jen Kirby has a good explainer on the factors in play, which include inflation. Writing at The Points Guy, Jordan Waller took a deeper look at the factors that could lead air traffic controllers to walk off the job — something that could have a massive impact on air travel.

The issue, Waller reports, centers around employees of Eurocontrol, the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation. They could announce plans to strike as early as this week; if they do so, over 12,000 flights per day could be affected. And, as anyone who’s experienced flight disruptions can attest, the delays caused by one day of flights being cancelled can cascade, affecting air travel down the line for much longer.

According to The Points Guy’s report, the issue that have prompted the air traffic controllers to consider striking have to do with pay and staffing concerns, including bringing more workers on board. Hopefully, this can be settled to everyone’s satisfaction — but if not, it might make sense to keep an eye on your flight schedule if you do have some summer travel to Europe planned.


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