Forget Flying to Spain

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Now that most of our airports are open again, you might fancy getting away to southern Spain, the Canaries or the Balearics for a bit of warmth. Forget it. Spanish air controllers, almost as one, have called in sick. This serious, contagious epidemic is apparently anti-governmentitis. Upset with the government cutbacks, air controllers who have always been fairly volatile in Spain, decided to protest by calling in sick. Those who did turn up face a herculean task in keeping flights going. Barcelona, in the north, is rumoured to be operating, albeit a much reduced service but trying to get into the official Aena websites is slow at present. Madrid is closed till 1pm this afternoon, but one report says Spanish airspace may be closed until 6pm tonight.
Why this illness?
It appears that under Spanish law if there is a strike, a skeleton service must be provided. By being ill, no such requirement is necessary so the shutdown becomes more effective. This may be why at 2am, the Spanish government sent in the military to oversee the controllers. It is hard to see what they can do other then put pressure on them to return to work. There are military air traffic controllers but will the Spanish government go that far as President Reagan did in the USA in the 1980’s? Or will this worsen the situation?
Some 250,000 passengers a day will be affected including, of course, many tens of thousands of British and Irish travellers who make up the largest overseas group pf Spanish visitors. After a fairly tough two years of downturns in tourism, Spain needs this illness like a hole in the head. Still it will be forgotten if it ends quickly. If it doesn’t…
Naturally easyJet as the largest airline servicing Spain from the UK has cancelled hundreds of flights. Monarch, Ryanair and BA and of course, Iberia, have had to make cancellations as well. It won’t only affect Spain because flights to the Algarve will have to be rerouted, as will some Gibraltar and Moroccan flights, so they don’t fly over Spanish airspace making flight times longer. That may have a knock-on effect for return flights.
It is hard to have much sympathy for these controllers who have salaries in excess of €100,000, some double that. Passengers will just feel the misery continues.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , ,