By Wendy Williams
TALKS between air traffic controllers and Spain’s airports authority AENA have broken down, heightening the prospect of a strike this month.
The two sides had been expected to reach an agreement by last Friday, after which time AENA said it was hoping to settle the dispute out of court.
But the deadline has been pushed back and Spain’s air traffic controllers will now decide on Thursday whether to go ahead with their walk out.
According to a spokesperson for the USCA union, representing the air traffic controllers, their decision will most likely be announced on Friday.
He said: “We hope the talks will be resumed, but if not, our executive committee will meet on Thursday and consider the situation, including possible strike action”.
The strike, coming at the height of the tourist season, could wreak havoc in a country which is so heavily reliant on the tourism industry.
And on Saturday travel companies, who are already feeling the effects of the conflict, were urging air traffic controllers to accept the government offer of arbitration.
Exceltur, the Spanish Alliance for Tourism Excellence, even said it would hold the air traffic controllers solely responsible for the adverse impact on Spain’s tourism sector.
“We will participate in any legal action that companies and sector associations might take in this negative hypothesis” Exceltur said.
As airline sector strikes must be announced at least 10 days beforehand no flight before 22 August will be affected by any eventual strike.
But that still leaves thousands of holidaymakers facing the prospect of travel chaos.