Holiday flights to Spain could be hit by pilot strikes this summer

Passengers on a flight from Madrid arrive at Heathrow Airport (PA)
Passengers on a flight from Madrid arrive at Heathrow Airport (PA)

Brits flying to the UK this summer could be caught up in a wave of strikes planned by Spanish airlines.

The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots (Sepla) is proposing a series of walkouts this summer amid an ongoing dispute with Spain’s Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA).

They are fighting back against the ministry’s “abusive” minimum services rules which has reportedly meant that 90 per cent of flights have been forced to go ahead during ongoing industrial action.

Sepla members at airline Iberia Regional Air Nostrum have been striking amid a wage dispute.

But their action has been affected by MITMA’s “minimum service” rule, which Sepla has branded “disproportionate and excessive”, and has meant the majority of flights have continued to go ahead.

According to the Majorca Daily Bulletin, Sepla is now considering more widespread strike action, which could halt flights to both Spain and the Balearic Islands this summer.

The walkouts could involve pilots at Easyjet and Ryanair, along with Jet 2, Swiftair, Plus Ultra, Norweigan, Eurowings, and Evelop, according to the newspaper.

Sepla’s website says it “represents almost 7,000 pilots of all airlines based in Spain”.

A Sepla spokesperson said the union “is studying new measures to defend itself against the abusive application of minimum services by the MITMA”.

It says the minimum services rule “violates the constitutional right to strike of workers in the airline industry”.

“Among these measures, the secretary of Sepla, Javier Fernández-Picazo, has highlighted that the possibility of a nationwide one to two hours halt in services by the pilots of all airlines is under consideration, inviting the Ministry of Transport to reconsider and apply the recommendations of the National Court on the issue,” said the union.

Carlos Sanchez, chief delegate of Air Europa at Sepla, “has [announced] mobilisations of the pilots will not stop and foresees new stoppages in the summer if the Air Europa management continues to refuse to listen to the legitimate labour and salary demands of the workers,” says Sepla.