Thousands of flights to and from popular tourist destinations in eastern Spain may be cancelled.
Flights to and from Spain may be cancelled this week as air traffic controllers there prepare to strike, possibly disrupting the summer holidays of thousands of people.
The ATC employees intend to walk out of work at airports on the east coast of Spain and the Balearic islands, according to media reports, for example in Barcelona, Ibiza, Mallorca and Menorca.
The controllers are warning that they may strike at any time from the end of this week unless their demands are met.
These demands include more than one day off out of every eight and a better rota to avoid a tiring pattern of nights and mornings. Many workers are complaining of exhaustion due to the poorly managed shift patterns.
“Our conditions are far from being normal,” ATC representative Raul Tobaruela tells the newspaper The Sun. “I can assure you that our working situation is the worst in the whole of Europe.”
He adds: “We would not anticipate too many flights being cancelled but there could be huge delays because there will be staff shortages.”
A strike is yet to be confirmed, and it would not cover the entire country, just the eastern areas. But the industrial action would be taking place at popular tourist destinations.
The news comes after Ryanair warned last week that there would be an airspace “meltdown” unless action is taken quickly to stop the regular strikes by air traffic controllers in France. A French parliamentary report also warns of serious ATC problems.
And a new report by the air traffic safety body Eurocontrol out this week warns that Europe’s aviation network is struggling to cope with record levels of traffic.