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UPDATE: What to expect from Italy’s airport strike on Sunday

Airline passengers travelling to or from Italy are set to face further disruption on Sunday, June 4th due to a 24-hour airport staff walkout which has already caused ITA Airways, the country's flag air carrier, to cancel 116 flights.

UPDATE: What to expect from Italy's airport strike on Sunday
More disruption is expected from planned Italian airport staff strikes this summer. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP.

Italy’s flag airline carrier, ITA Airways, has cancelled as many as 116 weekend flights due to Sunday’s nationwide airport staff strike, a statement from the company said on Saturday.

According to the statement, the company was working to “rebook the greatest possible number of passengers affected by the cancellations” onto the first available flights, estimating that “60 percent [of passengers] will be able to travel on the same day”.

ITA was also advising all passengers planning to travel with them during the weekend to check the status of their journey either online or by contacting their customer support services directly. A list of all cancelled flights can be found here

READ ALSO: Which airports in Italy will be affected by strikes on Sunday?

At the time of writing, it appeared unlikely that ITA customers would be the only ones experiencing major disruption during the weekend.

Staff from several airlines were set to hold protests on Sunday, with significant flight delays or further cancellations on the horizon.

Staff at Spanish airlines Volotea and Vueling, and Air Dolomiti – a subsidiary of Lufthansa operating routes from Germany to 13 different Italian destinations – were expected to take part in a 24-hour nationwide strike.

Meanwhile, ground staff from American Airlines and Emirates were expected to strike for four hours, between 12pm and 4pm.

Strike at Rome Fiumicino airport

Italy’s flag air carrier ITA Airways has cancelled 116 flights ahead of Sunday’s national airport staff strike. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Flights run by any of these airlines seemed likely to experience delays or cancellations on the day, though no further details were available at the time of writing.

It bears noting that, under Italian law, flights scheduled to leave between 7am and 10am and between 6pm and 9pm are protected from strike action.

Earlier this week, Italy’s civil aviation authority ENAC published details of the flights guaranteed to go ahead on Sunday on its web page.

Besides disruption to scheduled flights, operations at both check-in desks and baggage collection points at airports all around the country were expected to experience significant delays on Sunday due to a national four-hour handling staff strike between 12pm and 4pm.

Furthermore, air traffic control operators employed by ENAV’s Rome and Milan centres were set to strike from 1pm to 5pm, whereas Atitech staff at Rome’s Fiumicino Airport and handling staff at Bergamo’s Orio Al Serio airport were set to strike for the full 24 hours, according to the Corriere della Citta news daily.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Italy’s constant strikes are part of the country’s DNA

Sunday’s walkouts were called in protest over employment contracts for handling staff at Italian airports, as unions said pay and conditions had not been improved for six years.

Sunday’s nationwide strike action was initially scheduled for May 19th, but was postponed after disastrous flooding hit parts of the country.

You can keep up to date with the latest strike news from Italy HERE.

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Flights to Italy from Libya resume after nearly 10 years

A Rome-bound aircraft departed on Saturday from Libya's capital, restarting flights to Italy after a nearly decade-long suspension due to an EU ban, authorities in Tripoli said.

Flights to Italy from Libya resume after nearly 10 years

The European Union in 2014 halted flights operated by Libyan airlines and banned them from entering member states’ airspace, as the war-torn North African country was mired in intense fighting.

Saturday’s flight took off from Tripoli’s Mitiga airport. It was operated by Libya-based Medsky Airways, which offers a twice-weekly direct connection to the Italian capital.

Restarting flights is “part of intensive government efforts to lift the European ban on Libyan civil aviation”, said Libya’s UN-recognised government on Facebook.

Medsky Airways was launched in 2022, the year after EU member Malta announced it would allow flights to and from Libya.

It was unclear how the airline was able to circumvent the EU ban, which remains in place.

The Europan ban was imposed after a coalition of mostly Islamist militias called “Fajr Libya” seized Tripoli following weeks of fighting that caused massive damage to the city’s international airport.

Successive Libyan governments have since pushed for the ban to be lifted.

Abdelhamid Dbeibah, the prime minister of the Tripoli-based government, said in early July that “the Italian government has informed us of its decision to lift the air embargo imposed on Libyan civil aviation for 10 years”.

Italy, Libya’s former colonial power, and the Mediterranean island nation of Malta are now the only European countries to have resumed flights with Libya.

Rome has not officially commented on the move.

For much of the past decade, Libyans had to transit through Tunis, Istanbul or Cairo to reach Europe by air.

Oil-rich Libya plunged into years of chaos after a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed strongman Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The country remains divided between two rival administrations, one in Tripoli and the other in Libya’s east backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.