4 Jul, 2013 @ 15:27
1 min read

Spanish jets buzz Gibraltar

Spanish Jets in Gib

BRITAIN and Spain were plunged into a fresh round of diplomatic tension after four Spanish jets allegedly flew into Gibraltar airspace

The Matador jets were described as flying very close to the north end of the Rock. A British Airways flight was delayed by 12 minutes.

The Gibraltar Government reacted angrily to what they described as another incursion into British territory. This comes soon after the incident of the Guardia Civil shooting at a Gibraltarian jet ski and a Spanish patrol boat sailing into Gibraltarian waters the following day.

“The Government of Gibraltar has called on the UK to take up the matter of this military incursion into the airspace of Gibraltar at the highest diplomatic and military levels,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement. British officials in the Convent have already taken up the matter.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense, however, said that they had no evidence that the Spanish planes had entered Gibraltar airspace. In a statement, Headquarters British Forces said the BA flight was “…held on the runway for approximately 12 minutes by Air Traffic Control in Seville to allow Spanish aircraft to pass by in Spanish air space.”
“There is no evidence to suggest that the aircraft flew into Gibraltar air space,” it added.

Spain is currently holding a military exercise in the Mediterranean, and the aircraft were returning to the aircraft carrier Juan Carlos I.

Giles Brown

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  1. typical of Gib Govt to try and cause problems – makes you wonder about the jet ski incident and all the people who just happened to video the incident! I think the British Govt is getting sick and tired of the games the gib govt are playing.

  2. “In a statement, Headquarters British Forces said the BA flight was “…held on the runway for approximately 12 minutes by Air Traffic Control in Seville to allow Spanish aircraft to pass by in Spanish air space.”

    Held for 12 minutes BY Air Traffic Control in Seville on the runway “AT GIBRALTAR” they forgot to add, but then say “There is no evidence to suggest that the aircraft flew into Gibraltar(BRITISH) air space.”

    There are a couple of inconsistencies in the statement.

    Why would the Seville traffic control hold up a British Airways flight on the Gibraltar BRITISH runway for twelve minutes then?

    They say there is no evidence to suggest that the aircraft flew into Gibraltar (British) airspace?

    Right, then the very experienced air traffic controllers with all their equipment, radar etc at the British Gibraltar airport mistook four seagulls flying into British Gibraltar airspace and thought they were Spanish jets?

    Has it even occurred to these gentlemen that these Spanish “seagulls” might, just might, have veered into British airspace, unintentionally of course, just for the heck of it!

    Hmmmm. Curious.

    “The Gibraltar Government trying to cause trouble” you say Sr. Vladimir Nabokov? or should I say Sr. Paco?

    “People poised with videos just happening to be there to film incidents?”

    Wow you over estimate our powers of seeing into the future. Telephones, Mr. Vlad, they have little inbuilt cameras nowadays. IPads Mr. Vlad they too have little cameras inbuilt. People use them all the time, even on the beach. Maybe you think we go around looking up at the sky too just in case.

  3. @inthename, Seville Control centre is responsible for all the airspace surrounding Gib and because Gib airspace is so small and it literally takes a matter of minutes for an aircraft taking off from Gib to reach Spanish airspace it is a matter of practical necessity that Seville ACT is involved when an aircraft takes off from Gib.

  4. Stefanjo Would you like to call this another “spat”?
    Should I point you to the international “spat” that has developed because a plane with President Evo Morales of Bolivia on board was not allowed to enter the airspace of a few countries. Seems other countries take their airspace very seriously indeed. Shouldn’t we too?

    I wonder what Spain would consider as a “threat” if the shoe had been on the other foot. I would like to point you towards some missiles on the La Linea side which were there “just in case” UK just happened to cross the invisible line into Spanish airspace and the threats that went with it. Seems you are not very much into British Gibraltar history.

  5. Yes JA Roberts but apparently they keep each other informed as it should be for reasons of safety. They didn’t in this case. That is the reason for the complaint.

  6. There are so many examples throughout history of behaviour like this. The offending country is facing growing internal strife, unemployment is at record levels, the population are demonstrating on the streets, civil unrest is growing, the banks are approaching meltdown, so what do you do out of sheer desperation? Find a convenient scapegoat, engage in some frantic flag-waving to generate nationalist hysteria, and hope that this transparent attempt at diversional therapy will encourage the population to refocus elsewhere… Sound familiar?…

  7. If I understand this story correctly Spanish jets flying in Spanish air space flew close to the border with Gibraltar as part of a publicised military exercise.
    This has since been confirmed by the Headquarters of British Forces (On Gibraltar I assume).
    What is the issue here.

  8. Love the fact that “Inthename” can second-guess my reactions before I even comment. As it happens, no this isn’t a “spat”,it’s a big fat nothing. Dave, micmc47 and J.A. Roberts have it right. Evo Morales was hassled on the orders of the ruling empire. Air space had nothing at all to do with it.

  9. @inthename. Interesting how the competent authority in this case, the MoD, is not complaining. In fact the MoD is on record for stating that the Spanish jets did not enter British airspace. As much as I support Gibraltar’s battle against Spanish aggression, HMGoG was out of the blocks a bit too fast on this one I’m afraid…

  10. J.A. Roberts

    Sorry J.A. but as I understand it the runway is owned by the MoD for use by the RAF as RAF Gibraltar but the operator is the Government of Gibraltar so they must know what is going on too.

    What the MoD are saying is that “There is no evidence to suggest that the aircraft flew into Gibraltar air space”

    HMGoG is saying different.

    No evidence does not mean that they did not and I doubt very much that HMGoG would make unsubstantiated accusations on such a serious matter.

    The policy of the Spanish government is to deny everything as they have done with the jet ski incident even though it was filmed by three different people at different angles. Maybe if the evidence had not been there in full colour and sound somebody might have come up saying that there was no evidence of this ever happening.

    Believe me, HMGoG have absolutely no ulterior motive or need to “invent” anything. All we want is to be left in peace and not used or “buzzed” every time there is internal trouble on the other side of the border.

  11. When I see these kind of news in Internet because I don´t see it any spanish tv shows. I think its a joke. I always laught. Please, I have been in the south coast of spain 10 times and its the most peaceful part of spain.
    Even when a frigate of royal navy cross near one canary island the spanish crowd welcome them.
    The Gibraltar government see as enemy any spanish that cross near gibraltar. And the spanish jets (without armament) were doing perform manoeuvres in spanish beach and the spanish navy base is near gibraltar.
    Please, Spain and UK are allies and friends how many times the spaniards have to say it. The problem started when Fabian Piccardo started attacking the spanish fishermen, one thing that never happenned before. And this fishermen call the Civil Guards in order to protect them.

  12. @Basque Spaniard

    Coming from a supposed Basque, who will probably be the next in line to ask for independence from Spain after Catalonia, this is a rather surprising comment to make.

    Only in the internet? What is it? Don’t you read the International Press, the Spanish Press? Is the fact that you read it online make it untrue? Why because the television news or “shows” as you call them did not televise the film showing the shooting and the chase of an innocent Gibraltarian riding a jet ski on a Sunday afternoon? How would the Spanish government be able to deny it if they had? You can watch it on YouTube in full colour, and sound, and covered from three different angles. Don’t you think that PM Cameron had a good look at the film taken, the evidence gathered, before tackling the Spanish PM or do you believe he just took Fabian Picardo’s word for granted in such a serious incident? Nowhere in the statement made by PM Cameron does it specify rubber bullets. It speaks of shots being fired from a weapon. Maybe he knows more than we do.

    Wow, ten times you visited the south coast of Spain and you found it peaceful. I have been to Madrid more than that and it’s been peaceful , but now you will turn round and tell me that people did not get injured with rubber bullets in Madrid a few months ago either.

    What a silly argument to make.

    In the Canary Islands, another conquest (colony) of a peaceful people by Spain, British frigates from the Royal Navy get cheered when they are crossing near. And??? This is the normal practice of innocent passage covered by UNCLOS. They would not cheer if the Spanish Territorial Waters around these islands and protected by the same UNCLOS that protects our British Territorial waters were continuously being transgressed by British fishermen raking their seabed and using illegal nets now would they?

    The Government of Gibraltar is not and has never “attacked” Spanish fishermen. The Gibraltar Police AND the RN in Gibraltar are to be highly commended for their cool head in the face of such continued provocation from both the Spanish fishermen and those in political power hell bent on trying to create diversions from the major problems that Spain is going through and which has nothing to do with Gibraltar.

    HMGoG is only applying the same laws that apply to Gibraltarians and all and any other as regards fishing as well as expecting other signatories to UNCLOS/CONVEMAR to respect its laws. The Government of Gibraltar is backed by EU laws on fishing.

    HMG0G is only trying to stop this sort of thing, 255 kilos of immature fish seized by the same guardia civil who “protect” these same fishermen in Gibraltar waters using illegal nets to catch immature fish.. and this is only one example, there have been many more. You probably did not see this either on your tv.


    The same GC that prohibits and requisitions the implements of raking in the bay of Cadiz,” protect” these same fishermen when they do the same in the British Territorial Waters. And if any RGP or RN vessel approaches them as asks them to leave, even right in front of the landing strip of the airport, they cry “Harassment”. Who is being harassed here?

    The relatively new Government of Gibraltar does not hate Spain nor the Spaniards. This is the new fallacy doing the rounds in Spanish media. And if UK and Spain are allies and friends as you say, why does Spain not respect British territorial waters as covered by the UNCLOS laws, as all other countries do?

  13. micmc47,have it right.
    The Spanish Government is in disarray. With corruption everywhere, they will do anything to keep them off the from pages
    The Government need Gib to be the scapegoat. What about the 5 Spanish enclaves in Morroco. You wont see Spain giving them back.

  14. Inthename, stop talking nonsense about Spain. Before Catalonia and the Basque Country are not part of Spain, Scotland and Wales will cease to be in the UK. And the British frigate, is because canaries are friendly people, they have nothing to do with the dirty and hostile british, who are hated worldwide Or because you do not speak here of certain islands, not the Falklands, where the British took to its inhabitants? I hope that someday there is a government in Spain to make a fierce blockade against Gibraltar, by land, sea and air.
    You can not demand respect when you never respect your neighbor.

  15. And so it goes on. Blas forgets Ceuta and Melilla and Perejíl, the Brits forget Diego García (where we threw the entire population out to give the island to the American Army)and I’ve forgotten what we were talking about.
    Ah yes, Gibraltar. Can’t the people who live there do so in peace? It won’t make any difference to the rest of us.

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