MADRID – It is our third report on the air traffic controllers’ strike in Spain that will start from January 30. It concerns 160 air traffic controllers who work at 16 Spanish airports, together accounting for about 28 percent of air traffic. According to the latest posts on Saturday, the 24-hour work stoppage starts five Mondays from January 30 through. Experts do not expect this to cause much inconvenience, also because a minimum service is always demanded by the government during a strike. Flights can continue as usual, but perhaps with delays, which is why airlines will not say anything about the strike. If the strike is called off at the last minute, we will notify you immediately.
From January 30 and February 6, 13, 20 and 27 (five Mondays in a row) strikes are taking place at 16 airports managed by Saerco and Ferronats, so not at all airports in Spain. It’s about airports Alicante-Elche (Costa Blanca), Valencia, Murcia, Seville, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Palma, Jerez de la Frontera, A Coruña, Castellón, Lleida, Sabadell, Vigo in Madrid-Cuatro Vientos. At 30 other airports, such as Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga and Palma de Mallorca, which are managed by Enaire, there will be no strike.
In the event of a strike, the government always demands a minimum service. What this is is not yet known, but it is expected to be high because it concerns safety. We will report this as soon as this becomes known. So there will be strikes, but that does not mean that flights will be canceled (although that can always happen). It may happen that there are delays because fewer air traffic controllers work.
Why is there a strike?
In July 2020, AENA awarded control of the control towers at 12 of Spain’s 46 airports for seven years to two companies who paid almost 102 million euros for it. A first group (Alicante, Valencia, Ibiza and Sabadell) went to Ferronats, a second group (Vigo, Jerez, Sevilla, A Coruña, Madrid-Cuatro Vientos) and a third group (La Palma, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote) were outsourced to Saerco . The contract of the then subsidiary of Ferrovial (Ferronats) amounted to 43 million, while Saerco paid 35.5 million for the first batch and 22.8 million for the second and third, totaling 58 million euros.
Both unions are now criticizing Saerco’s attitude towards reaching any sort of agreement. From the beginning, the proposals presented by the representatives in the various meetings have been hampered. Significant common points were reached during the negotiations with Ferronats. Without a firm agreement, however, there remains conflict, which is why the 160 air traffic controllers are now summoned to strike for five days.