Flights to and from Cyprus were disrupted on Wednesday when air traffic controllers went on strike in a row over a government austerity package cutting their earnings.
The four-hour work stoppage affected some 38 inbound and outbound flights from Larnaca and Paphos airports, disrupting travel plans of more than 5,000 people.
Authorities have cut salaries in the public sector and introduced a temporary additional levy on private-sector income. The cost savings are designed to pull the island’s deficit below 2.5 percent of gross domestic product this year from an estimated 6.0 percent in 2011.
Controllers say they should be excluded because their salaries are paid via revenue from airlines using Cyprus’s airspace. They say they plan similar action next week.
Cyprus, downgraded to junk by Standard ∧ Poor’s, is acquiring a EUR€2.5 billion loan from Russia to cover its financing needs this year because it has been shut out of international capital markets.