Budget carriers urge action on air traffic control problems

The two biggest budget airline carriers have urged European authorities to sort out a spate of air traffic controller (ATC) disputes and staff shortages affecting their flights.

Ryanair and easyJet said the stoppages have impacted their schedules, after releasing their latest monthly statistics.

In monthly figures released today by easyJet the airline said it had, again, experienced a number of cancellations in July, driven by industrial action, ATC restrictions, a runway closure at Gatwick airport, as well as adverse weather.

The airline said: “While they were predominantly outside of the airline’s control, we have ensured we have looked after any customers disrupted by providing alternative flights and hotel accommodation – easyJet also submitted a complaint to the European Commission last month over the continued industrial action.”

Ryanair spokesman Kenny Jacobs said: “Regrettably, almost 200,000 Ryanair customers had their flights cancelled in July because of repeated ATC staff shortages in the UK, Germany and France, adverse weather, and unnecessary pilot and cabin crew strikes.”

He said: “Ryanair, together with other European airlines, calls for urgent action by the EU Commission and European governments to address the effect of these ATC staff shortages which are disrupting the travel plans of millions of Europe’s consumers this summer.”

Ryanair flies 57 routes from Manchester Airport and 35 from Liverpool John Lennon Airport, while easyJet flies 59 routes from Manchester Airport, and 33 from Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

Today’s easyJet figures saw passenger levels rise by 4.5% in July.

The carrier served 8.54m passengers last month, up from 8.17m.

This generated a load factor, or the number of available seats sold, of 96.9%, an increase of 0.1%.

The rolling 12 month figures for the airline show it had carried 83.64m passengers by the end of July, which is a 6.2% improvement.

Load factors for the 12-month rolling period were 1.4% better at 93.6%.

The airline said the latest monthly figures don’t include numbers from its Berlin Tegel operations.

Last week Ryanair announced its monthly passenger stats improved by 4% after it carried 13.1m customers in July.

The monthly load factor was static, at 97%.