Italy’s Black Friday Transit Strike Will Impact Rome

Italian cities prepare for airline, rail, bus, and auto-related delays on October 25 2019

Colosseum in Rome

The “Black Friday” industrial action will impact rail, ferry and airport services across Italy, including in key cities such as Rome, Florence, Naples, and Milan.

In Italy, transport strikes are scheduled in advance, and you can find information about planned disruptions on the Transport Ministry's website.

This is important news since Italy is the 5th most visited country in international tourism arrivals.

On October 24, 2019, the Telegraph reported ‘Rome is set to be hit hardest as general strike action is also planned by public and private sector employees, including by waste management, on the 25th, at the same time as the general transport strike.’

Unions told local media they were protesting the way public services were being run in the capital.

"It is a strike for Rome, where citizens have poor services and workers work in humiliating conditions," a representative of the CGIL union told La Repubblica.

Separately, the Local reported the exact timing of the 24-hour strike will vary, and some services on Thursday evening may also be affected.

The planned action includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • Airlines on the 25th. The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport says that many individual airports will experience strikes. Anyone traveling in, or flying to or from, Italy on the 25th should contact their airline to confirm their service will be running. 
  • Trains: rail strike from 9pm on October 24th to 9pm on the 25th.
  • Local transport, including buses, trams, and the underground, may be out of action in Catania, Florence, Milan, Naples, Palermo, Rome, and Turin.
  • Ferries: throughout the 25th.
  • Motorways: strike from 10pm on the 24th to 10pm on the 25th. It's not yet clear how Italy's network of toll motorways will be affected by the strike action. During similar previous strikes, traffic has been filtered through self-service toll booths, causing queues and delays during busy periods.

And, the Ops Group says of the strikes: “When these 4-hour strikes go ahead, overflights and incoming intercontinental flights are not significantly affected, but there are often big delays for flights to/from Italian airports.”

Under European air passengers’ rights rules, no compensation is payable if a strike by workers unconnected with the airline causes the problem. But after a delay of more than 3 hours, there is a duty of care to provide meals, and if necessary accommodation, until the airline can get you to your destination.

And, if a flight is canceled, then the airline must get you on the first available alternative departure, even if that is on a rival carrier.

According to media reports, here is a list of impacted airlines:

  • Staff at the national airline, Alitalia, will walk out at midnight for the whole of October 25th. Pilots, cabin crew and ground staff are striking.
  • EasyJet has already canceled 32 flights, affecting more than 5,000 passengers, and warned those still due to fly to leave extra time for their journey.
  • British Airways website does not yet indicate any cancellations or delays for the 25th.

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As of Thursday, October 24, 2019, the U.S. Department of State, Canada or UK government travel advisories have not been updated to reflect the strike information for Italy.

The U.S. State Department last updated its Level 2 Travel Advisory in December 2018. 

This ‘Practice Enhanced Caution’ Travel Advisory says if you decide to travel to Italy:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations, such as this Traveler’s Checklist.

From a health perspective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for Americans planning to visit Italy on July 12, 2019. The CDC says travelers should ensure they are up-to-date on Routine Vaccinations, which include the MMR, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella, polio, and yearly flu vaccination.

Italy is also included in the CDC’s June 2019 worldwide measles alert. 

As of October 10, 2019, there have been 1,572 confirmed measles compared with 2018 when 2,686 measles cases were confirmed.

And, Italy has reported 42 confirmed West Nile Fever cases as of October 17, 2019.

Furthermore, the CDC issued a Dengue Fever alert for the Mediterranean region on October 9, 2019.

Travel alerts are published by Vax-Before-Travel