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Ryanair strike in Spain: 54 flights cancelled and 300 delayed on Thursday

Fifty-four Ryanair flights to and from Spain were cancelled on Thursday and several hundred others delayed during an ongoing strike by the low-cost airline’s cabin staff.

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Passengers affected by the Ryanair strike wait to change their ticket to be able to travel at the Terminal 2 of El Prat airport in Barcelona on June 30, 2022. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

The strike which took place as European schools were breaking up for the summer was the latest stoppage by European airline staff demanding better conditions.

By 8:00 pm (1800 GMT), 54 flights had been cancelled and more than 300 delayed, with the airports in Barcelona and Malaga worst-hit, the USO union said.

Although Ryanair had said all scheduled flights would be operating, the airline “had not called in the full crew” at certain airports.

“The crew members that were not called in have joined the strike while those that were, went to the airports.. but there were not enough of them to operate the flights,” it said.

The strike by Ryanair cabin crew in Spain, where there are some 1,900 employees, is affecting 10 of the airline bases in the country and is due to run until July 2nd.

Earlier, the airline said flight disruption through the strike was “minimal” and only affected three percent of its Spanish flights.

The employees, who are demanding better working conditions, began an initial three-day strike on June 24 during which 129 Spanish flights were cancelled, the union said.

USO union representative Ernesto Iglesias (C) talks to the press during a Ryanair employees strike at Adolfo Suarez Madrid Barajas airport Madrid on June 24, 2022. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Ryanair is the airline that transports the most passengers in the Spanish market, offering more than 650 routes to 27 airports, the company says.

The initial strike in Spain coincided with industrial action by the airline’s staff in Portugal, Belgium, Italy and France demanding respect for labour rights and higher wages.

On Friday, staff with rival low-cost airline EasyJet will also be striking for the first of three weekends in July demanding parity in working conditions in line with other European airlines.

READ ALSO: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

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EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Two major changes that were due to come into force in 2022 for travellers entering the EU - an enhanced passport scanning system and the introduction of a €7 visa for tourists - have been delayed for a year.

EU delays passport scan system and €7 travel fee until 2023

Although both the EES and ETIAS schemes are still due to be introduced in the European Commission has pushed back the start dates for both until 2023.

It comes amid a chaotic summer for travel in Europe, with airports struggling with staff shortages and strikes while some crossings from the UK to France have been hit by long delays as extra post-Brexit checks are performed during the peak holiday season. 

The two separate changes to travel in the EU and Schengen zone were originally due to come into effect in 2020, but were delayed because of the pandemic. Now the EES system is expected to come into effect in May 2023, while ETIAS will come into effect in November 2023. 

The EES – Entry and Exit System – is essentially enhanced passport scanning at the EU’s borders and means passports will not only be checked for ID and security, but also for entry and exit dates, in effect tightening up enforcement of the ’90 day rule’ that limits the amount of time non-EU citizens can spend in the Bloc without having a visa.

It will not affect non-EU citizens who live in an EU country with a residency permit or visa.

There have been concerns that the longer checks will make transiting the EU’s external borders slower, a particular problem at the UK port of Dover, where the infrastructure is already struggling to cope with enhanced post-Brexit checks of people travelling to France.

You can read a full explanation of EES, what it is and who is affects HERE.

The ETIAS system will apply to all non-EU visitors to an EU country – eg tourists, second-home owners, those making family visits and people doing short-term work.

It will involve visitors registering in advance for a visa and paying a €7 fee. The visa will be valid for three years and can be used for multiple trips – essentially the system is very similar to the ESTA visa required for visitors to the USA. 

Residents of an EU country who have a residency card or visa will not need one.

You can read the full details on ETIAS, how it works and who it affects HERE.

Both systems will apply only to people who do not have citizenship of an EU country – for example Brits, Americans, Australians and Canadians – and will be used only at external EU/Schengen borders, so it won’t be required when travelling between France and Germany, for example. 

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