From Iceland — Tourist Joys, Tourist Woes

Tourist Joys, Tourist Woes

Published July 18, 2011

The bridge over the glacial river Múlakvísl, which was wiped out in a flood over a week ago, has been officially reconstructed and is open to the public again. However, worries for the tourist industry are far from over.
A glacial flood that had wiped out the bridge over Múlakvísl earlier this month slowed traffic in the south of the country, causing worries that the tourist industry could lose millions the longer the bridge stayed unrepaired. This is despite the fact that people and vehicles were being ferried across the river, in an operation that by all accounts was running for the most part smoothly.
The bridge was fully repaired last weekend, and all traffic should now be flowing again. However, a worry still looms for the tourist industry: another airline strike.
Many may recall that an airline mechanics’ strike last year brought air traffic to a halt for many of the flights to and from Iceland. Parliament responded by passing a measure which rendered the strike illegal, and flights soon returned to normal.
However, now pilots are unsatisfied with the terms of their collective bargaining agreement, and have reached an impasse with management and government negotiators over the matter. They have in turn threatened to not work any overtime, starting tomorrow, if a new deal is not made.
Government negotiators have not yet asked the pilots in for a new meeting, and the Icelandic Travel Industry Association is quoted as saying that they “cannot believe the pilots are serious” about their threat to drop overtime. But should they make good on their promise, numerous flights could be interrupted, delayed or cancelled.
Grapevine will keep readers updated on the matter as changes occur.

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