UK open for business despite threat of European strikes

21 January 2014

NATS air traffic controllers will be working as normal on 29 and 30 January, despite industrial action being planned for across Europe.

Controllers and support staff at the two NATS centres at Swanwick, Hampshire and Prestwick, Ayrshire, as well as at NATS-operated control towers across the UK, will be providing a full service to airlines and passengers.

NATS Chief Executive, Richard Deakin, said: “NATS controllers will be working as usual in spite of the threat of industrial action in Europe. If the strikes go ahead we will work closely, as ever, with Eurocontrol and other European air navigation services to help keep people moving whenever possible.”

“We will also work with our airline and airport customers to help them manage their operations should any changes be necessary.

“Any passengers who are worried they might be affected should check with their airlines for the latest information.”

The industrial action is being staged by two organisations in protest against the European Commission’s Single European Sky initiative, which aims to consolidate air traffic services across the continent.

The Air Traffic Controllers European Unions Coordination (ATCEUC) – an umbrella group that represents 14,000 members across 28 countries – is calling a strike for 29 January, before members of the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) then walk out on 30 January.

ATCEUC previously called for a ‘Day of Action’ in October last year before cancelling it following assurances of further negotiation.

The European Commission says the Single European Sky programme will triple the region’s airspace capacity, cut costs and reduce delays.

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