Strike action at Spanish airports set to disrupt Easter travel

Conor Faulkner
Conor Faulkner - [email protected]
Strike action at Spanish airports set to disrupt Easter travel
Passengers stand near the Ryanair check-in counters during a strike at Madrid Barajas airport. Photo: OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP.

Industrial action by staff at Madrid and Valencia airports could severely disrupt Easter travel in Spain, potentially leading to the cancellation of as many as 1,000 flights right in the middle of Semana Santa.


Spain’s Semana Santa celebrations this year have been disrupted by rain, leading to the cancellation of processions across the country, but travel during the busy Easter period could also be affected by strike action at two of the country’s major airports.

At Madrid-Barajas airport, the UGT union has called a strike by employees of the Platform Management Service (SDP) for Wednesday 27th and Friday 29th March between 7am-12pm.

At Valencia airport, flights could be affected between Thursday March 28th and Monday April 1st, between 11am-13am, when workers will walk out and protest outside the Terminal 1 building in Manises.

READ ALSO: Spain's Valencia set for airport strike over Easter holidays

As of Wednesday morning, Spain’s Ministry of Transport is yet to establish minimum service requirements. Between the two airports, two of the major airports in Spain for both domestic and international journeys, up to 2,000 flights could be affected, of which as many as 1,000 flights could be cancelled, according to UGT sources.

This comes during not only during Easter celebrations but right in the middle of operación salida, as it's known in Spanish, a key travel period in which millions of Spaniards travel home or go on holiday for Semana Santa.

Workers at Madrid-Barajas are demanding better salaries and a new collective bargaining agreement "in accordance with their responsibility, specialisation and the demands of the job." They argue their terms and conditions have worsened over the years, suggesting that workers were paid €2,000 net per month but today, after 11 years and 25 percent inflation, new staff are paid just €1,300 net the first year and €1,600 thereafter with little prospect of salary progression.

They also say they have lost 10 holiday days since the creation of the job, and that the salaries of new recruits have been reduced by almost 30 percent overall.

Valencia airport workers belonging to Spain’s national airport operator Aena have called the stoppage to protest against the lack of staff members, their long working hours and lack of compensation for extra work hours as well as below-bar airport facilities such as canteen for workers open permanently during work hours.


Affected flights

It is unclear exactly which flights could be affected at Madrid-Barajas, so it is advisable to check with your airline. You can check the airport schedule on the Aena website here.

If the strike goes ahead as planned in Valencia, reports suggest that several dozen flights could be cancelled, delayed or rescheduled.

On Thursday 28th, flights that could be affected by the stoppage include:

  • Ryanair flights connecting Valencia with Rome, Milan Bologna, Breslavia and Sofia 
  • United and Lufthansa flights connecting Valencia with Frankfurt and Munich
  • Easyjet and British Airways flights between Valencia and London
  • Turkish Airlines flights between Valencia and Istanbul
  • Air Europa flights between Valencia and Palma de Mallorca
  • Swiss flights connecting Valencia to Zurich
  • Volotea flights between Valencia and A Coruña
  • Eurowings’ Valencia-Stuttgart flights


On Friday 29th, flights that could be cancelled are:

  • Ryanair: Milan, Treviso, Trieste, Dublin, Marrakech and Palma de Mallorca
  • SAP and Tap Portugal flights between Valencia and Lisbon
  • United to Frankfurt
  • Lufthansa to Frankfurt, Munich
  • Austrian to Viena
  • Air Nostrum to Ibiza
  • Delta to París Charles de Gaulle
  • Air France to París Charles de Gaulle
  • Air Europa to Palma de Mallorca
  • Easyjet to London
  • British Airways to London
  • Brussels Airlines to Brussels
  • Iberia to Tenerife North
  • Tap Portugal to Lisbon
  • Turkish Airlines to Istanbul
  • Swiss to Zúrich
  • Volotea to A Coruña, San Sebastián
  • Vueling to Tenerife North
  • Eurowings to Stuttgart

There is no further information yet about which flights could be affected on Saturday 30th, Sunday 31st and Monday April 1st.


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