What is an ATC strike and how it might ruin your plans?

Last updated on June 7, 2023

ATC (Air Traffic Control) strikes are a disruption to passenger travel that can occur when ATC personnel go on strike. Generally, these types of strikes are planned by labor unions in an effort to secure better working conditions or higher pay. Customers are affected when ATC employees go on strike because air travel becomes significantly more difficult without the assistance of air traffic controllers.

What are the main functions of ATC?

The main role of ATC is to ensure that aircraft are able to navigate safely and efficiently through the airspace. This requires a high level of communication between pilots, air traffic controllers and other air navigation services providers. ATC typically provides separation between aircraft, provides pilots with direct route instructions, gives information about weather conditions, and advises pilots of potential hazards or obstacles.

Why might ATC go on strike?

ATC strikes can be caused by any number of labor issues, including wages, benefits, pensions, working conditions, and job security. In some cases, ATC workers may be asking for better working conditions or improved labor laws in their profession. Regardless of why the strike occurs, it will have a major effect on scheduled flights and passenger plans.

What are the passenger rights in case of an ATC strike?

In the event of an ATC strike, airlines are obligated to re-book, re-route, or refund passengers affected by the disruption. Airlines are also responsible for providing customers with all reasonable assistance including meals, accommodation, transport and other reasonable expenses incurred in the context of the disruption. Depending on the type of disruption, passengers may also be eligible for strike compensation, flight compensation, or flight disruption compensation. Although ATC strikes can be difficult to predict and plan for, passenger rights remain the same in the event of an ATC strike. By understanding these rights and planning accordingly, travelers can ensure they are prepared in the event of an ATC strike and disruption.

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