Spain's Government, which imposed a 15-day state of alert to end a wildcat strike by air traffic controllers, stated on 06-Dec-2010 it may extend the measure to prevent any further disruptions (AFP, 06-Dec-2010). The government reportedly plans to keep the decree in force for two months to provide time to prepare military controllers that could replace the civilian ones if necessary. Services began to return to normal on 06-Dec-2010 after the government declared the state of emergency which placed the controllers under military command. AENA has opened disciplinary proceedings against 442 controllers over the incident. It is estimated the strike could cost the country's tourism industry EUR400 million (USD532 million) in lost revenue. The government had significantly reduced their overtime hours and pay rates in Feb-2010 to trim incomes which rose as high as 600,000 euros p/a. Controllers commenced strike action on 03-Dec-2010 in reaction against a government ruling that their maximum work hours of 1,670 hours a year - 32 hours a week - exclude non-aeronautical work. Approximately 96% of the country's controllers were working on 06-Dec-2010. [more - IFATCA] [more - Jet2]
Spain plans to extend decree over ATM strike
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"Level": IAG's new long haul low cost brand to launch 4 routes from Barcelona, with more to come
On 17-Mar-2017, IAG announced the launch of its newest airline brand, 'Level', which it will use to operate the group's first long haul low cost flights from Jun-2017. The launch routes will be from Barcelona to Los Angeles, Oakland, Buenos Aires and Punta Cana. It will compete head to head with Norwegian on the Los Angeles and Oakland routes.
In Dec-2016, IAG had said that it had not yet decided whether to create a new brand or to operate its planned Barcelona long haul low cost routes under one of its existing brands British Airways, Iberia or even Aer Lingus. Vueling was ruled out, although its strength at Barcelona will provide connecting feed. IAG's solution is to create Level, a new airline brand, but to operate it initially with Iberia pilots and cabin crew.
IAG has also confirmed that Level will deploy two new 314 seat Airbus A330-200s (293 economy and 21 premium economy) and will create up to 250 jobs based in Barcelona. Level, IAG's first entirely new airline brand, will also look to expand to add flights from other European cities.
AENA: Spain's airport operator must cut charges, but airline yields are already falling
After much delay, in late Jan-2017 the Spanish Council of Ministers approved the airport regulation document setting AENA's airport charges for the next five years. The headline numbers include a 2.2% annual decline in charges from 2017 to 2021, equivalent to an overall cut of 11% through the period.
The legal framework prevents tariff increases before 2025, but the outcome was in contrast with the Spanish airport group's own proposal to freeze charges. Strong traffic growth of 11% to an all time high level of 230 million passengers in 2016 may have influenced the regulator's decision.
In response, AENA has decided to remove an incentive mechanism which rewards airlines for traffic growth with airport charge discounts. The removal of discounts is estimated to offset the 11% reduction by one third.
In fact, this discount scheme has been quite effective in stimulating traffic growth in recent years. However, traffic growth in Spain was also boosted in 2016 by high airline capacity growth switched from other (risk) markets. Airline yield declines are probably noticeably heavier than AENA's regulated price reduction.