Cowen calls for end to air traffic controllers' dispute

The Taoiseach has today called on all sides involved in the air-traffic controllers dispute to enter into industrial relations talks to have the issue resolved.

Air travel chaos is looming for thousands of passengers today, due to four-hour work stoppages by air traffic controllers at Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports this afternoon.

More than 100 flights have been cancelled in the row between controllers and the Irish Aviation Authority.

Runways will be closed at the three main airports in the country from 2pm to 6pm and flights through Irish airspace will also be affected.

Impact has accused aviation chiefs of dishonesty by arguing that controllers should abide by the new work practices in advance of hearings with industrial relations trouble-shooters at the Labour Court.

It said members have voted by a 99% majority not to co-operate until agreement had been reached.

The IAA has now said that it had suspended two further air traffic controllers, claiming they had stopped work, bringing the total to 14.

The aviation body said it regretted the inconvenience caused to travellers.

“The authority deeply regrets the inconvenience caused to the travelling public and to airlines as a result of today’s stoppages by controllers,” a statement read.

“Stoppages like those proposed cause distraction and uncertainty.

“The provision of a crucial and safety-critical service is difficult in an environment of uncertainty. The IAA needs the full assurance that all controllers are prepared to carry out all assigned duties.”

Most Read in Ireland