5 Dec, 2010 @ 12:45
1 min read

Spanish flights resume after strike by air traffic controllers

SPANISH airports were paralysed on Saturday due to an air controllers’ wildcat strike which left more than 300,000 passengers stranded.

The controllers were protesting about a new working hours decision approved by the Spanish cabinet.

The government declared a state of alert, unprecedented since Spain became a democracy after the death of Franco in 1975. That allowed for the air controllers to be arrested, face immediate charges and prison sentences of up to six years, Interior Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said.

On Friday the government placed air traffic under the control of the army after the unofficial walkout by controllers.

Airport authority AENA said 70 per cent of all controllers had either left their stations or failed to turn up for work on Friday, without prior notice. Many called in to say they were sick or unable to work.

More than half of the controllers returned to their posts on Saturday, but refused to work, claiming they were ill. AENA sent in doctors to check on their health.

Today AENA have announced that 286 of the scheduled 296 air traffic controllers are at their posts. Flights are slowly returning to normal and 200 flights have operated in the two hours from 9am. Today there are approximately 4,060 scheduled flights.

AENA are still advising passengers to check their flight status with the airline before heading to the airport.

They can also find the latest information from AENA on www.twitter.com/aenainformacion or by calling 902 40 47 04 in Spain.

Karl Smallman

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call 951 273 575. To contact the newsdesk out of regular office hours please call +34 665 798 618.


  1. I read they were earning 350k per year, with productivity levels half that of the Uk or Germany. You can’t have a workable and fair social contract betweem people and government unless the public sector is efficient and salaries are compatible with good value for the taxpayers money

  2. These useless layabouts should all be sacked with immediate effect. The starting salary for a Spanish air traffic controller is 250k, and with a few years experience and a bit of overtime these greedy people are earning close to 1 Million Euros per year. This is far higher than any other EU country.

  3. Ronald Reagan had the right idea when he sacked striking air traffic controllers in the 1980s. The behaviour of the Spanish controllers is even more egregious than that of the Americans was, given that they make even more money and have more privileges. Trying to defend them as socialist “workers” is patent rubbish. They are greedy and arrogant people who want sinecures, not jobs. They should all be sacked.

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