Ryanair demands Danish government action over air traffic control dispute

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Ryanair demands Danish government action over air traffic control dispute
In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of passengers were affected by significant delays at Copenhagen Airport due to a shortage of air traffic controllers and an ongoing dispute between their trade union and Naviair, their employer. Photo by Who’s Denilo ? on Unsplash

Budget airline Ryanair asked Denmark’s transport minister on Wednesday to step in as the air traffic controllers’ dispute at Copenhagen Airport continued to cause delays.


In a press release published on Wednesday, Ryanair directly addressed the Danish transport minister, Thomas Danielsen, asking him to step in to "protect passengers" from the impact of the ongoing dispute.

Earlier this week, DI Transport, SAS, Norwegian, DAT and the airports in Copenhagen, Aalborg and Billund joined forces behind a similar call.

READ MORE: Airline Norwegian could ‘find alternative’ to Copenhagen Airport over delays

The minister has so far refused to interfere in the conflict, saying he believes it is up to the social partners – that is, representatives of management and labour – to resolve the issue.

Ryanair criticises Naviair

Neal McMahon, Director Of Operations at Ryanair, called it "completely unacceptable" that passengers at the airport continue to experience delays due to the labour conflict.

"Copenhagen Airport is the major access point to Denmark. It is time for Naviair and Transport Minister Thomas Danielsen to make a quick decision to protect passengers and prevent further unnecessary delays at Copenhagen Airport," he said.

"Danish citizens and visitors to Denmark should be able to travel to see friends and family without worrying that their flights will be unnecessarily delayed due to Naviair's failure to resolve this personnel dispute," he added.


Naviair, the company that manages traffic at Copenhagen Airport, wants employees to take extra shifts until more air traffic controllers are trained. It has also said it will loan staff from the smaller Roskilde Airport to help ease strain during the peak summer months, but Copenhagen Airport management has expressed concerns this measure will be insufficient.

Air traffic controllers say that the extra shifts have become unmanageable and that the volume is in breach of their collective agreement.

Notable flight delays

A calculation from April showed on Thursday that 45 percent of flights at Copenhagen Airport were delayed.

In total, around one million passengers were affected by delays of more than a quarter of an hour.

Last Friday, Norwegian announced that, if this situation continues, it may have to find an alternative to Copenhagen Airport from which to operate the company's flights.

SAS said it was too early to make a decision. However, Ryanair has yet to answer whether this is part of their considerations.


Dispute background

The shortage of air traffic controllers and a related dispute between their trade union and Naviair, their employer, has resulted in delays for hundreds of thousands of passengers at Copenhagen Airport in recent weeks.

Naviair has asked its staff to take on extra shifts due to the shortage but also said it has increased intake on training programmes to eventually increase the number of staff available.

Air traffic controllers have said that the overtime is not at a manageable level and that they have taken 1,500 additional shifts so far this year.


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