Good morning from sunny Nicosia.
Yesterday there was a true chaos as hundreds of passengers were left stranded at Larnaca airport as there were no personnel left in the ATC to issue plans for departing flights.
This lasted from 15:00 to 19:00 as no Assistant Officers were on duty at that time. Incoming flights proceeded without interruption while the departing ones were delayed.
Cyprus Airways was the only affected with its departures to Sofia, two flights to Athens, Thessaloniki and London being delayed.
On normal days there are two Assistant Officers and four controllers. One of the assistants got ill and went home at noon. Later on the second assistant also got ill and left, no one could be reached to fill in.
Media report that the union PSYDY told the officers to not work overtime, hence why the second officer refused to step in and take over.
At 19:00 the new shift started and that is when the chaos came to its end.
Cyprus Airways which had no idea what was happening announced to its passengers that the flights are being delayed due to an unannounced strike by the ATC.
Hermes Airports (which run LCA and PFO) stated that the actions by the ATC employees were ''disrespectful toward the travelling public.”
Later in the day, the air traffic controllers’ union PASEEK released an indignant statement expressing “grief” that the disruption was immediately blamed on them without checking the facts. ATCs continued to work throughout the four-hour period, the union said.
It all boils down to an argument between the Cypriot government and the unions which oppose the austerity measures.
For those interested here is the link to the newspaper:
No matter what it was it was irresponsible from the Assitant Officers to just leave and leave so many people stranded at the airport with no explanation. In my opinion they should be fired immediately - but then again, that is why we have unions, to protect people like those.