How Many Airlines Can Strike In Europe? This Sounds Like A Bad Joke

Looking at the labour relations in Europe for the past few days I keep having a vision of my father walking into a room and saying “Home many airlines can strike in Europe?” then adjusting his tie, laughing and saying “No, seriously … I’m kidding…” as people stand around waiting for the punch line he’s sure to deliver.

Well to answer this question I think we need to go back a few days…last week a series of strikes in Greece caused flights to be canceled by the newly reorganized and privatized Olympic Air as well as Aegean Airlines.

Last Friday, the 12th of March, Alitalia, the Italian National Flag, Carrier canceled 146 flights when members of Italy’s largest Union staged a four-hour labour strike.

This week … pretty much everything is flying …

…coming up … British Airways faces a split seven-day strike by its cabin crewmembers whom are part of the Unite Union.   The British Airways strike is set to begin Saturday March 20th thru March 22nd, and then start again on March 27th through March 30th.

Unite Union has begun talks with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in the United States to try and impact British Airways flights in the United States after their strike action has placed them in a less than favourable light in the United Kingdom.

To counteract the cabin crews on strike, British Airways has taken the unusual move of training non-cabin staff to serve as flight attendants and chartering aircraft from other airlines to provide limited service on routes that would otherwise be impacted.

The British Airways strike is expected to cost the airline £100,000,000 in revenue, plus the cost of leasing charter aircraft.

At the same time the second half of the British Airways strike gets underway, TAP Portugal, the national flag carrier of Portugal is expecting its pilots to walk off the job for a six day strike from March 26th to March 31st.

TAP’s strike is expected to cost the airline upwards of €5,000,000 per day.

That seems like a lot of airlines on strike doesn’t it? Just like a bad infomercial you may watch at 3:30am … I’m not done yet!

Members of Air France’s cabin crew union have announced their plans to stage a four-day strike from March 28th to March 31st. While Air France & its cabin crew Union have been in negotiations over crew changes on short and medium haul flights, the Air France cabin crew strike is officially “to support the British Airways staff in their strike.” A union spokesperson stated “We’ll be showing solidarity with our colleagues.”

So, flight attendants from Air France will punish their employer and their passengers to show support for the flight attendants from British Airways … the company’s long time competitive rival.

You know who wins out from all of this? No one … well maybe Lufthansa and its group of airlines … but no one else.

Happy Flying … unless you’re in Europe at the moment then Not-So-Happy Flying!


  1. Sergio,

    Exactly, Lufty was on strike the other week, the only airline on strike. In the next week Lufty can pick off British Airways passengers, Air France passengers, two prime competitors, as well as pick up revenue from its Star Alliance partner and come out as the ‘good guy’ helping move TAP passengers.

    So in the next week who wins? Lufthansa.

    Happy Flying!


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