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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
Flights grounded by Italian strike
Ryanair aircraft
Ryanair passengers have been offered a refund
A general strike in Italy has grounded all flights to and from the country.

Passengers have been warned there is no chance of travelling until Tuesday evening and have been urged to contact their airlines.

There will be no flights in and out of Italy between 0900BST and 1700BST.

The strike action was called in protest against Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi's plans to reform the labour market.

'Beyond our control'

Budget airline Ryanair said it had been forced to cancel more than 20 flights to and from the UK and Brussels to Italy, as a result of the strike.

A spokeswoman said: "Passengers whose flights have been cancelled should contact our reservations office to re-book or apply for a refund.

It's going to be quite a difficult day

British Airways
"We apologise for the inconvenience caused by a situation which is beyond our control."

British Airways faced a similar dilemma, with a spokesman admitting, "It's going to be quite a difficult day".

He added: "We apologise to our customers and are doing what we can to get them in and out of Italy."

Go said it had cancelled eight flights and passengers could either change their flight free of charge or have a refund.

The strike, called by Italy's three major unions, is the first whole day general strike to hit the country in 20 years.

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Europe
Italy's politicised strike
02 Jul 01 | Scotland
Flight delays end after strike deal
26 Jun 00 | Europe
Strike halts French air traffic
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