A series of strikes by workers at airports across Spain is set to cause travel chaos for British holidaymakers across Europe, playing havoc with many people’s plans for the Easter holiday weekend.
The workers have called 22 days of strike action starting on the 20th April, and continuing on selected days throughout May, June and July, in protest at privatisation plans.
Around 12,500 ground staff employed by the state-controlled airports authority, Aena, plan to be involved in the strike action which threatens to shut down all 47 airports across the country, including those in the Canary Islands.
Low cost carriers could be hit particularly badly with EasyJet serving 17 Spanish airports and carrying around 9 million passengers to Spain every year. Ryanair is looking at having to cut 300 flights which will affect the holiday plans of around 57,000 people. The airlines outspoken chief executive Michael O’Leary has urged the European Commission and Spanish government to intervene.
O’Leary stated “Ryanair will not allow it’s passengers to be inconvenienced further by the selfish strike action by Aena workers.”
Ryanair is calling for the government to create a European network which would allow one country to control the airspace of its neighbouring countries, preventing flights being delayed or cancelled during strikes.
Spain was the top holiday destination for UK holidaymakers last year with the Civil Aviation Authority confirming that 28 million passengers flew there from Britain last year. It is expected to be just as popular this year with the disruptions in Middle East countries deterring people from travelling further afield. It is also believed that the Spanish ground staff strike action could coincide with further British Airways strikes as cabin crew are again being balloted by the Unite trade union; however the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has tried to play down the threat of the Spanish workers, reiterating that it was still ‘only a proposed strike’ and that it might not actually happen.