Posted on: 22 September 2010 by Mark Howells
At its AGM, Ryanair has called on the EU Commission to take action to reform Europe’s ATC providers and open them up to competition to improve passenger service and end the strikes which have caused flight delays within French, German, Spanish and UK airspace.
Ryanair’s statement condemned “the failure of European Governments and their ATC to reform or end the repeated strikes, no shows, and work to rules which have delayed thousands of flights for millions of passengers across Europe. These slot delays could be avoided if the EU’s ATC providers were properly rostered and properly managed, instead of being run as bloated, inefficient state-owned bureaucracies. European ATCs are a vital service which should not be allowed to go on strike. If they do, then European Governments should replace them with military and other substitutes in order to keep Europe’s vital airspace open and running efficiently”.
The statement continued: “It’s time for Europe to take similar action as Ronald Reagan did in the early 1980s when US air traffic controllers went on strike (he sacked and replaced them). Europe’s national ATC providers should be deregulated and allowed to compete against each other. If, for example, the French go on strike, then the British or the Spanish should be allowed to manage French airspace to prevent flights being cancelled or delayed and consumers being blackmailed or held to ransom.”
Ryanair’s chief executive Michael O’Leary commented further. “The US ATC service is far more efficient, cheaper and causes far fewer delays than Europe’s mismanaged, unproductive ATC providers. Europe’s airlines and passengers have suffered all summer long, while the German, French and Spanish ATCs, have either gone on strike, failed to show up for work, or when at work, insist on applying ludicrous work-to-rule practices which impose totally unnecessary flight delays and penalties on Europe’s airlines and passengers.
“The European Commission and Parliament keep banging on about passenger rights during flight delays, when in reality most of this summer’s flight delays have been caused by European Governments’ abject failure to manage their ATC services, with the result that Europe’s airlines and passengers are blackmailed by ATC strikes, go slows and the feeble management which runs Europe’s national ATC monopolies.
“These inefficient national ATC monopolies should now be opened up to competition (in the same way Europe’s airlines were deregulated 20 years ago). We must allow the best and most efficient ATC providers to offer their services across Europe. This will ensure that Europe’s airlines and passengers are no longer held to ransom by striking ATC bureaucrats who think they can simply ‘no-show’, strike or work to rule, whenever it suits them, regardless of the impact of their actions on customer airlines or passengers. We must now let competition succeed where these ATC monopolies have failed,” concluded O’Leary.