First day of Vueling pilots’ strike begins without major incidents
Total of 246 flights cancelled for Wednesday and Thursday
On the first day of Vueling’s pilot strike, there has been little impact at Barcelona airport. All in all 122 flights have been cancelled, 17 of which at the Catalan facility. According to the airline, the stoppage will affect 14% of its passengers.
People will be transferred to other flights or be refunded. Some travellers, however, were not warned about the strike as their tickets had been purchased at a travel agency. One such passenger was Alberto, who told the Catalan News Agency (ACN) that he did not receive any notification about the status of his flight to Bilbao from Barcelona El Prat airport.
The strike is set to continue on Thursday while negotiations between pilots and Vueling continue, with the cancellation of a total of 124 flights scheduled.
The company itself has insisted that 81% of flights are “protected” and “86% of customers will not be affected by the strike.”
100% of flights to the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands will be maintained, while between 30 and 51% of routes within Spain and 51% of international flights will continue.
Reasons for strike
The pilots are going on strike stating that their situation is “unsustainable.” According to them, the company has failed to comply with the collective growth agreement of pilots, and that they have had to “make many sacrifices for the growth of the company.” The pilot’s union, Sepla, has stated that “more than 120 pilots have left the company since 2017.”
Vueling has expressed that "it regrets the situation" because the strike "will have negative effects" for customers. For its part, Sepla recalled that "90% of the Vueling pilots" support the strike call.
Air traffic controllers also set to strike
Air traffic controllers have also agreed to go on 24-hours strikes from June 20. At an assembly, 85% of the workers decided to join the protest against the lack of staff that they say they are suffering. The air traffic controllers warn that it could lead to a collapse at the airport of Barcelona this summer.
The administrator of air navigation in Spain, Enaire, has already opened up for the contracting of more air controllers. But according to the air traffic controllers' trade union, USCA, they will not arrive in time for when the air traffic is the busiest, in summer. "It is not a pessimistic outlook, it is realistic," said the trade union's spokesperson. According to USCA, Barcelona Airport already has 9.4% more passengers than it had at this time last year.