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The strike dates to avoid when travelling to and from Spain this Christmas

The Local Spain
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The strike dates to avoid when travelling to and from Spain this Christmas
Up to 10,000 Aena airport workers across Spain have also announced a strike on key dates over Christmas period, possibly causing extra queues and possible delays. (Photo by Josep LAGO / AFP)

Christmas is going to be a challenging time for many travellers flying to and from Spain with numerous airline strikes, as well as airport and baggage handler walkouts. Find out which dates you should try to avoid if possible.

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Last Christmas, travel in Spain was plagued with problems due to the rise of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, and while restrictions have been lifted this year, it seems that travel chaos will ensue once again during the festive season due to a number of strikes. 

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Several airlines operating in Spain, as well as airport workers and baggage handlers, have announced stoppages over the Christmas period, meaning possible flight cancellations and delays.

Even if your airline is not specifically affected by industrial action, travellers should expect more holdups and issues at airports across Spain on days when strikes are set to take place. Here are the dates you need to know about.  

Air Nostrum strike 

Air Nostrum pilots have announced they will go on strike for eight days over Christmas, demanding better work conditions and wage increases. The Valencia-based airline operates mainly domestic flights within Spain.

The strike days will be Friday December 23rd, Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th, Thursday 29th and Friday 30th, as well as Monday January 2nd and Tuesday 3rd, for 24 hours each time.

READ MORE: Air Nostrum pilot strike means more Christmas travel chaos for Spain

Aena airport workers strike (CALLED OFF)

Up to 10,000 Aena airport workers across Spain were due to strike on key dates over Christmas period: Friday December 23rd, Monday 26th, Tuesday 27th, Thursday 29th and Friday 30th, as well as Friday January 6th and Sunday 8th.

On Wednesday December 14th, the leading trade union that announced the industrial action called off the strike after reaching a deal with Aena's management and the Transport Ministry over the issue of productivity bonuses for workers. 

READ MORE: Spain’s airport staff Christmas strike called off

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Vueling strike

Cabin crew working for low-cost airline Vueling, which offers many flights from Spain to the rest of Europe, has also announced stoppages at Christmas after weeks of strikes that have led to hundreds of flight cancellations and delays.

These will take place every Friday, Sunday and Monday until January 31st, 2023, as well as on Saturday December 24th, Saturday 31st and Thursday January 5th - key travel days in Spain.

Spain’s Ministry of Transport estimates that up to 3.2 million passengers, equal to 70,500 a day, could be affected by this industrial action overall, although it has established minimum service decrees for the airline, as it often does during industrial disputes.

According to Vueling officials, passengers whose flights are cancelled are being given seats on alternative flights. Vueling flights to and from Barcelona are the most affected.

Ryanair strike

Ryanair has seen successive strikes since the summer and unions have threatened that they could last until January. This time, baggage handlers and other on-the-ground staff at seven different airports have been striking. The walkouts began on October 28th and will end on Saturday January 7th, 2023. The 24-hour stoppages are carried out from Monday to Thursday every week. 

These airports will include Alicante, Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca and Seville, however, it’s worth noting that Ryanair has said that it doesn’t actually expect this strike to cause that much disruption.

Travel between Spain and the UK

Travellers arriving at the UK’s biggest airports over the Christmas period could face severe delays entering the country and even risk having their flights cancelled as a result of strike action by British border force staff.

If it goes ahead, the stoppages will take place from Friday December 23rd until Monday December 26th and then from Wednesday, December 28th to New Year’s Eve.

If there are delays in the UK, there could be a ripple effect (or last-minute cancellations) in Spanish airports, particularly those with multiple daily departures to Britain such as Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante-Elche, Las Palmas, Lanzarote, Málaga, Ibiza, Murcia and Palma de Mallorca.

There are also planned transport strikes in the UK, mainly affecting trains, throughout December. 

IN DETAIL: How strikes will affect travel between Spain and the UK this Christmas

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