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Spain lifts Covid restrictions on access to airport terminals 

Friends, partners and family will again be able to say goodbye to their loved ones inside the airport terminal as the Spanish government on Friday will lift restrictions imposed to control airport numbers during the pandemic.

A father says goodbye to his daughter at Barajas airport in Madrid in pre-pandemic times. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP
A father says goodbye to his daughter at Barajas airport in Madrid in pre-pandemic times. Photo: Javier Soriano/AFP

First introduced in July 2020, the ban meant only passengers with a boarding pass, airport staff and security forces were able to go inside the 46 airports managed by AENA in Spain.

The Spanish government on Monday lifted these restrictions which will be effective from Friday October 15th, meaning families and couples no longer have to say their goodbyes at home or outside the terminal. 

The lifting of the ban is due to be published in Spain’s state bulletin on Thursday October 14th but has already been confirmed by Spain’s Transport and Mobility Minister Raquel Sánchez.

“Access to the airport terminals by companions will be allowed, although their entry may be limited in times when there’s a great influx of people to avoid crowds,” wrote the ministry. 

Face masks will continue to be a “health requirement” as “it’s an important measure for the return to normality”, Spanish government spokesperson Isabel Rodríguez added. 

This, together with the obligation of keeping a security distance of 1.5 metres, are the only two main Covid-19 restrictions that remain at Spanish airports.

The measure has also been approved as a means of generating more business for retailers inside airport terminals who have been hit hard by the ban.  

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TRAVEL NEWS

Cabin crew at Spain’s Iberia Express set to strike for ten days

Madrid-based Iberia Express cabin crew have called for ten days of strike action in August and September over pay increases, adding to already disrupted summer travel in Spain and Europe.

Cabin crew at Spain's Iberia Express set to strike for ten days

In what has become a summer of strike action, industrial disputes are affecting travel of all forms across Europe.

In Spain, however, the walkouts have been very largely concentrated in the aviation sector with pilot and cabin crew strikes at both Ryanair and EasyJet causing delays and cancellations throughout the summer.

To further add to the already chaotic summer of travel, cabin crew at the low-coast branch of Iberia – Iberia Express – have now joined their industry colleagues and called for strike action.

READ MORE: Ryanair cabin crew in Spain begin latest round of strike action

Backed by the USO and SITCPLA unions, over 500 Madrid-based Iberia Express cabin crew staff are set to walk out for ten days of strike action that will begin on August 28th and is scheduled to last until at least September 6th, in order to “unblock the negotiation of the airline’s collective agreement,” according to unions.

As with other airlines, union bosses are demanding a salary review to get pay in line with Spain’s historic inflation and because Iberia Express staff have had their wages frozen for the last seven years.

Like the Ryanair and EasyJet disputes, unions are fighting for pay increases amid an inflation-triggered cost of living crisis combined with worsening working conditions, hours and contracts prompted by the surge in travel after the end of COVID-19 pandemic travel restrictions. Many airlines cut staff numbers to try and stay afloat during the pandemic and are now struggling to cope with demand.

READ MORE: Rate of inflation in Spain reaches highest level in 37 years

Unions are also calling for the consolidation of a 6.5 percent salary increase corresponding to 2021 for all staff, the creation of a seniority bonus, and two salary levels with a 11 percent and 4 percent percent increases respectively.

“We are very disappointed with Iberia Express’s management, which showed it doesn’t keep its word and doesn’t respect workers who have struggled to keep the company afloat,” unions said in a statement.

READ MORE: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

Iberia Express representatives described the proposed strike action as “incomprehensible” and reinforced that negotiations are ongoing.

“We’re confident the strike can be avoided and that we can keep talking to guarantee stability and offer a good service to our customers,” Iberia Express management said in response. 

Iberia Express connects Madrid with 40 cities across Europe. Unless an agreement is made between employers and unions, flights could be affected on August 28th, 29th, 30th, and 31st, and September 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th.

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