Strikes in Portugal hit Holidaymakers

Holidaymakers and timeshare owners travelling to Portuguese resorts today, tomorrow and on May 24 or 25 should be aware that Portuguese Air Traffic Controllers have pledged walk-outs which may well affect their travel plans.

The strikes will take place between 07:00 – 09:00, 14:00 – 16:00 and 21:00 – 23:00 however airport staff say they’re going to take part in a longer 24-hour strike tomorrow starting at midnight, which will disrupt flights until Saturday.

The Foreign Office advises passengers to contact their travel company or airline for more details.

In light of the strikes, British Airways is adjusting its flight schedules and Ryanair has cancelled flights but is offering passengers the option of switching to earlier flights with no extra charges. Portugal’s national airlineTAP Air Portugal has also changed its schedules and cancelled some flights, and is offering its customers alternative dates free of charge.

Ryanair says it absolutely condemns the strikes, as they will mean cancellations and delays for thousands of passengers. The Irish airline is again pressurising the EU Commission to remove the right to strike so that Europe’s Air Traffic Control personnel cannot walk out – in this case, there was advance warning, but in some cases, including Spanish strikes, air traffic controllers have walked out without notice in the past.

Ryanair"s Stephen McNamara said: "These public servants are among the most overpaid and protected in Europe and yet they repeatedly opt for the strike weapon as a first, rather than a last resort.

"The summer schedules in Europe are just weeks old and already the Portuguese Air Traffic Controllers will be engaging in three days of strikes. The solution to this problem is simple: remove their right to strike in exactly the same way that Air Traffic Controllers in the USA are prevented by law from striking."

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