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Air transport strike cancels hundreds of flights across Italy

ROME, Italy: Italian air transport unions began a planned strike two days after a train strike that paralyzed rail services, causing hundreds of flights to be canceled and forcing travelers at the peak of the tourist season to make alternative plans.

Striking workers included pilots, flight attendants, baggage handlers and airport personnel.

During summer in Italy, unions often organize transport strikes that affect both commuters and tourists, to enable them to press for demands for better work contracts and conditions.

However, amid a tourism boom following two years of COVID-19 pandemic losses, this year’s strikes are taking a considerable toll.

National carrier ITA said it canceled 133 flights, most of them domestic, but a few to European destinations, such as Madrid, Amsterdam and Barcelona. Low-cost airlines Ryanair also canceled dozens of flights.

Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci airport, as well as Naples’ airport, saw dozens of flights canceled.

Labor unions Filt Cgil, Uiltrasporti and Ugl Trasporto said they called the strike over “absolutely unsatisfactory” contract disagreements with Malta Air, which operates Ryanair flights.

In response, Ryanair said on its website that the strike is “beyond our control,” and apologized for cancellations and other disruptions.

Filt Cgil spokeswoman Sara di Marco blamed the government for waiting until the last minute to meet with unions to renew work contracts. “We are not happy to create inconvenience to customers because that is not our goal,” she said, according to Reuters.

The union wanted to meet with the ministry earlier and not one day before the strike, describing the move as an attempt “to defer or preempt” it, she added.


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