Italian air traffic controllers strike against new high-tech remote system

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-12 03:38:49|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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ROME, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Air traffic controllers at Italy's main airports went on strike for four hours on Friday, publicly held air traffic control manager ENAV said in a statement.

The labor action was held to protest ENAV's 2018-2022 industrial plan, which calls for a transition to a new high-tech model of remote air traffic control that will require personnel to move to other cities and learn new technologies, Filt CGIL union national air transport coordinator, Fabrizio Cuscito, told Xinhua.

The striking unions -- UNICA, UGL-TA and Assivolo Quadri -- argue the industrial plan will result in job losses and will have a negative impact on remaining staff, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Currently, national air traffic is managed through four main control towers in Rome, Milan, Padova and Brindisi airports, plus 45 towers in smaller airports across the country, ENAV, which manages 1.86 million flights a year, explained on its website.

Under the new system, the 45 local control towers will be phased out and the four main towers will manage all air traffic across Italy, ENAV said in its industrial plan.

"The new system is so high-tech the union needs time to assess its implications," Cuscito said, adding that the remote control model ENAV wants to introduce in Italy is still experimental, and is currently being used solely in Sweden.

Cuscito said his union, CGIL, did not participate in Friday's strike because it is in talks with ENAV, but that it reserves the right to do so should the negotiations fail.

Friday's strike affected Brindisi, Catania, Genoa, Milan, Perugia, Pescara, Rome and Turin airports, according to ENAV.

Rome airport manager Aeroporti di Roma (AdR) said the strike affected 109 international airlines at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, including Air China, plus low-cost carriers Ryanair and Wizzair at the city's smaller Ciampino Airport.

National carrier Alitalia published a list of over 100 cancelled flights at Rome's Fiumicino Airport, including arrivals and departures to and from other Italian and European cities including Amsterdam, Athens, Dusseldorf, Geneva, London, Paris, and Warsaw.