Hundreds of flights between UK and Italy grounded by strikes

‘We will be using larger aircraft, where possible, to help affected customers,’ says British Airways.

More than 100 flights between the UK and Italy have been grounded on Tuesday ahead of a strike by air-traffic controllers and ground staff. Over 20,000 passengers have seen their journeyscancelled.

The controllers arewalking out between 10am and 6pm, Italian time,in protest against privatisation plans.At the same time, awider series of stoppages aretakingplaceat airportsacross the country. Ground staff are engagedin a long-running pay dispute -writes

While intercontinental flightsto and from Italy, overflightsand some services to and from the Italian islands are unaffected, many short-haul departures will be delayed or cancelled.

Ryanair , which carries far more passengers on flights to and from Italian airports than any other carrier, has cancelled dozens of flights, including many services to and from Bergamo near Milan.Two round-trips from Stansted, and one each from Bristol, East Midlands and Manchester have been grounded.

One passenger, Phil Carson, tweeted : “What I can’t understand is our flight was at 7am so we’d have been back in Manchester before the strike commences.”

That flight, and many others, has been grounded because it was due to arrive back while the strikes were under way.Links from Ryanair's biggest base, Stansted, to Rome, Rimini and Naples have also been axed.

The troubled Italiannational airline, Alitalia , has cancelled a total of 230 European flights, including six between London City and Milan and four between Heathrow and Rome.

The entire first wave of easyJet flights from Gatwick to Italy appears to have been cancelled, including two round-trips to Rome as well as services to Naples, Bologna and Milan,

Many other easyJet links from other UK airports are grounded, including Liverpool to Venice, Manchester to Pisa and Bristol to Naples.

British Airways has cancelled 38 flights between the London airports and Italy, including 14 serving Milan. Rome and Venice each have six BA services grounded.

The airline said: “We will be using larger aircraft, where possible, to help affected customers and are doing all we can to reduce the levels of disruption.

“Public transport to and from airports could also be affected by the national strike, so please allow extra time for your travel plans before and after your flights.”

Transport workers in Turin, Ancona and Rome are stopping work.

The second day of a strike by Air France pilots , cabin crew and ground staff has led to dozens of cancellations.

Theunions are asking for a no-stringspay increase of 5.1 per cent, while the airline has offered 2 per cent with future increases,based onthe company’s financial performance.

Seven services between Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle have been grounded, along with four Manchester flights and departures from Birmingham and Edinburgh.

Passengers whose plans are thwarted by strikesare not entitled to cash compensation, but airlines must provide meals and, if necessary, accommodation, until they can be flown to their destination.

The latest two-day strike on French Railways has begun. SNCF staff have a programme of stoppages , beginning every five days,that are scheduled to continue until late June.

Eurostar has cancelled one round-tripfrom London St Pancras to each of Paris and Brussels on Tuesday.

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