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Strike halts Italy's airports

Alitalia has been forced to cancel over 240 flights
Alitalia has been forced to cancel over 240 flights

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ROME, Italy -- Flights into and out of Italy have been severely disrupted by an eight-hour strike by national air traffic controllers.

Hundreds of passengers at airports across the country faced huge delays on Saturday as airlines were forced to cancel most of their domestic and international flights.

Italian carrier Alitalia dropped 243 flights, while most European airlines were also forced to abandon or re-schedule their connections in and out of Italy.

The industrial action, stemming from a dispute over pay and conditions, is Italy's second mass strike this week.

Bus, tram and metro drivers demanding more pay and shorter working hours took industrial action on Wednesday.

"It's been a great week. First the bus strike and now this, which we knew nothing about," U.S. tourist Rosine Picciano, stranded at Rome's Fiumicino airport, told Reuters.

The air traffic controllers' strike started at 0800 GMT and was scheduled to end at 1600 GMT.

Air travel is expected to be disrupted again in mid-October when Italy's biggest union has called a general strike, the second this year, over government economic policy.



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