Spanish air traffic controllers walkout – British tourists stranded

Published on : Monday, June 8, 2015

spain-airport-strikeAs the Spanish air traffic controllers resume their series of eight strikes, thousands of Britons remain stranded facing a lot of chaos. The tourist organizations had to book more than hundred hotels to accommodate the travelers stuck due to the unprecedented walkouts.


The strikes are lasting for two hours that started yesterday morning from 10am until noon and then in the evening between 6pm to 8pm. The same industrial strike is going follow its routines on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.


Spanish law in theory bans air traffic controllers from having fewer than 70 per cent of staff at their stations during a strike, for safety and national security – but it is feared that many sympathetic to the strike could phone in ‘sick’ and stay off work regardless.



And certainly many British tourists snatching an early summer holiday will be among those affected – with almost half a million travelers due to be hit at Palma airport in Majorca alone. The Mediterranean island has around 600 flights and 100,000 passengers a day.



Tourist chiefs in Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands are certainly concerned, and have reserved 1,300 beds for holidaymakers whose flights could face cancellation.



The strikes are a protest against a decision to sanction 61 air traffic controllers for shutting down Barcelona’s airspace in 2010.



Spain’s military was called in to take over air traffic control five years ago after civilian staff called in sick en masse during a dispute with airport authority Aena over hours and conditions.



Around 80 per cent of foreign visitors to Spain arrive or leave by plane – and with the country among those that have been hardest hit by the economic slowdown, tourism income is particularly important.

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