Italian strike brings flight delays
ROME, Italy -- Hundreds of flights into and out of Italian airports have been cancelled or delayed after air transport workers went on strike.
Friday's eight-hour strike by pilots, flight attendants and ground workers, which was scheduled to end at 6 p.m. (1700 GMT), hit airports across Italy, including Rome, Milan, Bologna, Venice, Pisa, Naples, Genoa and Verona.
Italian carrier Alitalia said it expected about 300 flights to be cancelled while Germany's Lufthansa said 47 flights between Germany and Italy would not take place.
A spokesman for British Airways told the Press Association: "The dispute affects check-in and baggage and has forced us to cancel 18 of our flights.
"Our advice to anyone flying to Italy is to check first before setting off."
Other airlines have also announced the cancellation of dozens of flights, while massive delays were expected during and after the walkout.
At Milan's Linate airport, thick fog added to the disruption, forcing officials to cancel flights even before the strike started or divert them to the nearby Bergamo airport, news reports said.
The workers are protesting against planned layoffs in the aviation sector, which has been in deep crisis since the September 11 attacks in the United States.
The Alitalia board has approved a plan to lay off 2,500 employees, or 15 percent of its work force, to cut costs.
The air transport strike is part of a spate of walkouts sparked by the conservative government's plans to reform the labour law and pension system.
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