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Europe’s Biggest Airlines Team Up to Reduce Impact of Strikes

Europe’s Biggest Airlines Team Up to Reduce Impact of Strikes
Joe Cortez

British Airways Aircraft Pushback T5, LHR (Photo: British Airways)

Executives from five European carriers collectively requested changes in aviation rules during a meeting with the transportation commissioner.

With less than a year in her seat, the European transportation commissioner recently hosted one of the most difficult meetings in her term. The Independent reports commissioner Violeta Bulc sat down with the executives of five European air carriers to address a number of situations affecting European air traffic, including the recent rash of air traffic control strikes.

The meeting was held in Brussels and featured the chief executives from Air France-KLM, EasyJet, Lufthansa Group, Ryanair and International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia. During their meeting, the executives discussed their concerns about the current state of aviation in Europe.

One of the major points the group discussed were air traffic controller strikes, which have tied up air traffic throughout Europe. In June, the Daily Mail reported Spanish air traffic controllers could be the next group to strike, threatening multiple strikes over the summer.

“We’re calling for action on strikes,” said Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair. “Strikes should not be the first club in the golf bag you reach for.”

The executives also addressed a number of situations that affected their businesses, including standing air routes and airport security fees. The executives agreed that passengers are paying more in security fees with lesser results.

“Quality has gone down, including in my home airport [in Frankfurt],” said Carsten Spoor, CEO of Lufthansa Group. “Passengers are paying more and more fees and not getting a better service.”

Passenger compensation rules for delayed flights in Europe were also brought up during the group meeting. The executive group claimed they wanted to see reforms in the rules, but did not specify the direction of those changes.

“We believe that what was well-intended has been misrepresented and misinterpreted by the courts,” said Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG. “We would like to see effective and balanced consumer protection.”

So far, there is no indication of what policies could be changing over European skies. While the executives held a joint press conference after the meeting, the transportation commissioner’s office has not yet commented on the summit.

[Photo: British Airways]

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