It’s not just the heatwave. There’s now another reason your summer vacation might be ruined


Following last summer’s chaos of canceled flights, mountains of lost luggage and other disruptions, many airlines and airports ramped up staffing to meet unprecedented demand – and some have even billed this year’s peak travel season as a return to pre-pandemic normal.

But another hurdle currently looms large on the aviation landscape: strikes, which have already affected scores of passengers across Europe and are piling on the misery for vacationers also hit by soaring prices and scorching summer temperatures.

One of the most significant moves is possible industrial action from a trade union of civil servants in Eurocontrol, the organization that manages airspace across Europe.

Union Syndicale Bruxelles has given formal warning of strikes affecting Eurocontrol over the next six months. It’s not yet announced firm dates for possible action, but aviation insiders are keeping a close eye on the situation.

The summer already has seen a flurry of strikes by pilots, ground crew, security staff and other transit personnel that have impacted airports, airlines and railway providers across Europe.

British budget carrier easyJet scrapped 350 flights that were set to arrive in or depart from Portugal ahead of a five-day cabin staff strike scheduled for July 21-25, Reuters reported. Strikes have also taken place – or are planned – in France, Belgium, Spain and other popular tourist destinations in Europe, adding yet another complication for travelers across the continent.

“Capacities are improving again as airlines, airports and other travel companies have continued hiring massive amounts of people over the past 12 months to make sure that such a chaotic summer situation doesn’t happen again this year,” Jakob Wert, editor in chief of International Flight Network, a Germany-based aviation trade publication, tells CNN Travel.

“But of course now we’ve got a huge challenge with these potential strikes coming our way.”

The travel sector in particular is currently experiencing a high level of strikes largely because of inflation, Wert explains. “Right now prices are higher than they’ve ever been,” he says. “It’s the most important time for unions to get improvements on pay for their members’ work.”


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