Flight disruption

Air traffic control strikes set to hit holidaymakers

EasyJet holidaymakers
Strikes in Europe are likely to disrupt holiday plans

Holidaymakers face major disruption after air traffic controllers announced strike action that will affect up to a third of all European flights.

Controllers at Eurocontrol, the European air traffic management body, plan to walk out over the peak summer period after talks over staffing, rosters and pay broke down.

Dates for the stoppages are expected to be announced within days.

An industry source told The Times that the strikes could lead to delays or cancellations of up to 12,600 flights across Europe every day.

“In a full-blown strike, 20% to 30% of flights would be at least delayed,” the source said.

Stewart Wingate, the chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said that strikes at European air traffic control were the biggest challenge operationally this summer.

Airlines and airports have suffered because of repeated strikes by air traffic controllers in France, which disproportionately affect flights to and from the UK.

He said the strikes had caused a major issue for airlines: “What you see with French strikes is that they affect almost every movement from the UK. It causes delays in the operation and you do get times when the terminals become full.”

Edinburgh security set to change

Passengers travelling through Edinburgh Airport will be spared the need to separate liquids and electronic devices from their luggage from next year when 3D scanners will transform security procedures.

Edinburgh is phasing in eight scanners at checkpoints as part of a UK-wide initiative that will eventually be introduced to most airports.

London City Airport and Teesside are already using the equipment which is similar to CT scanners used in hospitals and produces 3D X-ray images which eliminate the need to remove electronic devices, liquids and gels from hand luggage.

Manufacturer Smiths Detection says the scanners will allow passengers to take up to two litres of liquid with them on their flight.

The technology has already been in use at US airports, such as Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago’s O’Hare, for a number of years.

Edinburgh will be the first airport in Scotland to get the technology and is now Scotland’s busiest, handling more than 11.3 million passengers last year.

Adam Wilson, chief operating officer at Edinburgh Airport, said: “Providing passengers with a smooth and safe experience through security is incredibly important to us.”

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