ATC Strikes Could Cause Chaos In Italy On Monday

**Update: 22/11/2019 @ 16:43 UTC – Alitalia shared a statement that it has canceled some of its flights. Comment below. **

Passengers traveling to Italy should expect delays and cancellations as the country braces for a nationwide strike next week. The main disturbance will occur on Monday 25th November.

ATC Strikes Could Cause Chaos In Italy On Monday
Italy will suffer a nationwide strike on 25th November. Photo: Bestairlinesitaly via Wikimedia Commons

The details of the strike

A strike in airports across the whole of Italy will commence at 23:00 on 24th November, lasting until 22:59 on 25th November. The strike action will cause major disruption on Monday 25th November whilst staff from all four of Italy’s area control centers walk out.

The strike, or sciopero, will be held by staff of Alitalia and Air Italy according to Garda. However, relatively little information about the strike has been shared. Perhaps that’s something to do with Italy’s vehement relationship with its transport sector. This is not the first, nor will it be the last, of Italy’s air transport strikes.

To add fuel to the fire, the country has a number of other regional strikes planned for 25th November. ENAV reports local strike action in the following areas that day:

  • Padua Area Control Center
  • Area Control Center of Brindisi
  • Milan Linate Airport – ARO CBO structure
  • Ancona Falconara airport
  • Perugia airport.

In addition, a four-hour strike will run between 13:00 and 17:00 at the following locations:

  • Area Control Center of Rome
  • Rome Ciampino Airport
  • Bari airport
  • Pescara Airport.


ATC Strikes Could Cause Chaos In Italy On Monday
A number of airports will close including Ciampino Airport. Photo: Ra Boe via Wikimedia Commons

What’s the reason behind the strikes?

Whilst the news of this new strike has come as somewhat of a surprise with little information imparted, there is speculation that the incentive driving the shut-down is the same as before. Staff in Italy have previously walked out on strike in protest for better working conditions and improved management.

Today, the air navigation service provider (ANSP) in Italy released a statement indicting trade unions for the planned action. ENAV said:

“…the trade unions FILT-CGIL, FIT-CISL, Uiltrasporti, UGL-TA, Assivolo Q. have called for a national strike action.”

Expected disruption

Whilst this news seems big, the country has currently scheduled multiple strikes across many of its transport networks this month and next. Of course, that doesn’t make the pill any easier to swallow.

Alitalia has updated its website with news on the flight schedule changes. Speaking to Simple Flying, a spokesperson said that due to the strike:

“Alitalia was therefore forced to cancel some domestic and international flights scheduled for 25 November from 1 pm to 5 pm. List of cancelled flights and special measures to mitigate customer inconvenience are published on website.”

According to the Aeroporti di Roma website, The airport system in Rome receives 4.6 million passengers monthly. Consequently, a simple math equation shows this to equate to an average of over 148,000 passengers at its doors every day. And that’s just one airport region in Italy.

We can expect that thousands of passengers will be unable to travel to their destinations and a lot of airlines will experience profit losses. (That’s something South African Airways knows too well in light of recent strike action.)

ATC Strikes Could Cause Chaos In Italy On Monday
Unfortunately, other airlines have already been majorly affected by previous months’ strikes. Photo: Jo Bailey / Simple Flying

Strike action is a continuing saga for the popular holiday destination. Last month, 5,000 easyJet passengers were disrupted by strikes in Italy with over 200 flights canceled. Before that, Alitalia halted operations when it went on strike on 9th October. And Monday’s strike is projected to be just as disruptive.

Travelers making their way to and from Italy during this time should check airline and airport websites to stay abreast of updates.

Will you be affected by the strike? Do you know more about this story? Let us know in the comments.