Airlines demand action on  from European Commission as French strike sparks share price tumble

The industry group representing most of Europe’s airlines has hit out at the European Commission, saying some sort of response is needed following yesterday’s French air traffic control strike.

The warning comes as the share prices of many of its industry group members have slumped over the past week following the Brexit vote which led to a steep decline in the value of sterling against the dollar.

Airlines have also been hit hard by uncertainties about European economic growth

Industry group, Airlines for Europe, said the travel plans of 200,000 passengers have already been disrupted this year by strikes in France, Belgium, Italy, and Greece.

The latest airline strike — the 13th dispute this year — is slowing the continent’s economic recovery and robbing jobs. 

More disruption looms if threatened strikes go ahead later this summer, it warns.

The French dispute “hits European passengers during the busiest month of the year when millions of holidaymakers take off to southern Europe,” Airlines for Europe said.

“The strike is expected to last for 35 hours and will see more than 200 flight cancellations — delays and time-consuming detours not included. Later this month another strike will hit Italy with hundreds of flights at risk of being cancelled,” it said.

“The EU Commission needs to put the tourism sector back into the spotlight to prevent the holidays of European families being spoilt by these strikes which cause major disruption for passengers,” said Airlines for Europe.

Ryanair’s passenger traffic grew 11% 10.6m passengers and its load factor was up 1 percentage point to 94% in June, the airline said yesterday.

Ryanair shares have nonetheless slid 17% since the Brexit vote on June 23, and are down almost 25% since the start of the year. 

Shares in IAG — the Aer Lingus, British Airways and Iberian owner — have lost 26% of their value since June 23, and are 26% lower this year.

EasyJet has fared worse. Its shares have slumped 31% since the Brexit vote, and are down 39% this year. 

The slump in the value of sterling has eroded some of the hefty gains recorded by some airlines from the slide in the cost of aviation fuel.


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