European airport chaos infographic
Graphic shows current industrial action at European airports.


European airport chaos

By Duncan Mil

June 24, 2022 - Airlines had already been struggling with staff shortages and now face further disruption in the coming weeks after aviation workers at Heathrow and across Europe voted to strike.

Ryanair staff are striking across Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain over poor working conditions and low pay. Workers say the Irish airline does not respect local labour laws covering issues such as the minimum wage.

“Conditions are terrible,’ Ricardo Penarroias, president of SNPVAC, the union behind Portugal’s walkout, told Reuters. “A crew member cannot even take a bottle of water on a flight.”

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary dismissed union claims as “complete rubbish.”

Easyjet workers in Spain, working from Palma, Barcelona and Malaga, are to stage three strikes through July.

As many as 700 British Airways ground staff and baggage handlers at London Heathrow are to strike over the last two weekends of July -- during the peak summer holiday period.

Airlines UK, the industry body for British operators, said airlines had cut about 30,000 jobs since the pandemic, employing 74,000 people in 2019.

Airports across Europe are also experiencing shortages, with operators in France reporting at least 4,000 vacancies.

PUBLISHED: 24/06/2022; STORY: Graphic News