Air-traffic controllers delay flights

Dozens of flights were delayed and several more canceled yesterday as air-traffic controllers entered the second day of a «work-to-rule» protest. The workers also called a 24-hour strike for Saturday, after the Civil Aviation Authority said all their summer vacations would be suspended to minimize the impact of their action on flights during the peak season for tourism in Greece. The workers, who are demanding better wages and the recruitment of more staff, launched their work-to-rule action early on Sunday, after an Athens court deemed their original plans to stage rolling 24-hour strikes illegal and abusive. The air-traffic controllers have been observing strict limits on the number of aircraft allowed into Greek air space at any given time. Their action yesterday delayed more than 70 flights – chiefly domestic routes – by up to 30 minutes, sources at Athens International Airport said. The situation was worse on Sunday, when delays had stretched to four hours and passengers had been forced to camp out on the floor at Athens airport, waiting for news on their departures. Of the 294 scheduled departures from Athens airport on Sunday, three flights were canceled and around 180 delayed, the sources said. There were similar delays reported at Thessaloniki’s international airport. Representatives of Greece’s tourism sector, which has been badly hit by a series of strikes by workers protesting the government’s austerity measures, yesterday reiterated their criticism of the air-traffic controllers, noting that it was aggravating their problems.

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