EasyJet operates ‘rescue flights’ for stranded passengers

EasyJet operates ‘rescue flights’ for stranded passengers

Five “rescue flights” are to be operated today by easyJet to help bring home passengers stranded across Europe by the French air traffic control strike.

The budget airline said it had prioritised the repatriation of three stranded groups of school children.

EasyJet also confirmed the cancellation of 78 flights to and from the UK yesterday, up from an initial estimate of 48.

The 48-hour dispute forced a total of 248 easyJet flights to be grounded on Wednesday and 331 flights on Thursday. Ryanair cancelled 250 flights on Wednesday and a similar number yesterday.

EasyJet said last night: “We are operating five rescue flights tomorrow, prioritising the repatriation of three groups of school children that we have recognised in Paris Charles de Gaulle, London Gatwick and Marrakech.

“These will operate from Luton to Paris Charles de Gaulle, Charles de Gaulle to Barcelona, Barcelona to Luton, Gatwick to Madrid and Marrakech to Gatwick.”

The carrier added that it was looking at the potential of upgrading aircraft types on routes that have been most affected by the industrial action to offer more seats for passengers in those destinations.

Hotel accommodation was also being provided to stranded passengers, with 3,103 rooms booked on Wednesday for 6,066 people.

“EasyJet is disappointed at this unnecessary strike action which has caused considerable and disproportionate disruption for passengers and airlines across Europe,” the airline said.

“EasyJet recognises that there a number of passengers across the network who have been affected by these cancellations and still require flights as soon as possible.”

The carrier listed the action it has taken in response to the strike including the use of 500 working in call centres to assist with flight rebookings over the phone.

It handled 13,000 calls on Wednesday and took 4,300 calls yesterday. Call centre opening hours were extended by two hours in all markets except France which was extended by three hours to open between 8am to 10pm.

The two-day strike was called over working conditions by the SNCTA controllers’ union which is threatening further action  on April 16-18 and April 29-May 2.

Simon McNamara, director-general of the European Regions Airline Association, told the Times: “This action, during one of the busiest passenger traffic weeks of the year, is completely unjustified and unreasonable.”


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