Ryanair

Ryanair has continued to raise the alarm about flight disruptions caused by European air traffic control (ATC) management after it was forced to cancel 60 flights between Thursday 27th June and Friday 28th June.

In a strongly worded statement, Ryanair said that ultimately, the underperformance of European ATCs all impacting all European airlines at a time when flight volumes are still lagging behind 2019 levels by five per cent.

It said that European ATC services are also benefitting from no French ATC strike disruption this summer, yet they continue to disrupt flight schedules due to “staff shortages” and more recently “equipment failure” at the Maastricht control centre, an international non-profit air navigation service provider (ANSP) operated by EUROCONTROL on behalf of four states – Belgium, Germany Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

On Thursday 27th June, more than 30 per cent of Ryanair’s 3,500 flights were delayed due to ATC delays. A total of 16 aircraft were out of base on Thursday night due to ATC delays, which meant that aircraft missed their airport curfew landing times. On Friday 28th June, 25 per cent of Ryanair’s first wave departures (150 of 600 aircraft) were delayed due to the aforementioned ATC “staff shortages” and “equipment failure” in the ATC Maastricht centre.

“These repeated flight delays and cancellations due to ATC mismanagement are unacceptable,” Ryanair said.

Commenting on the delays, Ryan air chief operations officer Neal McMahon said:

“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. We call on Raul Medina, DG of Eurocontrol, to explain why Europe’s ATC centres are repeatedly short staffed and now claiming “equipment failures” at the Maastricht centre, which is affecting all European airlines. It is unacceptable that one in every four of Ryanair’s first wave departures today were delayed due of ATC staff shortages and equipment failures.

“Over the last three years, Europe’s ATC fees have risen by record levels, but staffing and service levels have continued to decline. We call on EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to take action to urgently reform Europe’s shambolic ATC services. Eurocontrol DG Raul Medina must now act to deliver an efficient and effective ATC service to Europe’s citizens. These repeated ATC delays and cancellations are unacceptable. We apologise to our passengers for these repeated ATC flight delays and flight cancellations, which are deeply regrettable but beyond Ryanair’s control.”

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