Over 45,000 passengers have New Year flights cancelled due to airport ground staff strike in Spain

THE IBERIA airline group consisting of Iberia, Iberia Express and Air Nostrum has cancelled 444 flights in early January due to a four-day strike by ground staff.

The strike days are between January 5 and 8, with Iberia saying that 45,641 passengers will be hit.

The industrial action is timed over the Three Kings holiday period and will affect 270 Iberia flights; 64 under the Iberia Express banner; and 110 Air Nostrum services.

The strike has been called by the CCOO and UGT unions, as well as by USO, after Iberia lost the handling service at eight of the country’s main airports in a tender run by airport operator Aena in September.

Last minute negotiations to carry out ‘autohandling’ in airports ended without agreement.

Stoppages were previously announced for the December 29 to 31 period as well, but the unions agreed to postpone them on the basis that both sides were still talking and that the government was due to mediate.

Iberia plans to operate 836 flights over the four-day January strike period, 76% of the total of 1,106 scheduled, and will try to get practically all long-haul flights (including LEVEL flights) and as many short and medium-haul flights running as possible.

Out of the Iberia cancellation list, 51% will be domestic services and 49% will be European, while Iberia Express will operate 88% of its flights and Air Nostrum, 72%.

Iberia said in a statement on Friday that the group’s companies will offer ‘the best possible alternatives to the 45,641 passengers affected by the cancellations so that they can make their trips’.

In the coming days travellers will be informed of the possibilities of switching to other flights.

Passengers who have booked affected flights for 5, 6, 7 or 8 January can request now ask for a change of date on their trip or a refund of the amount paid for the tickets.

Those customers with flights not directly affected by the strike will be able to change the date of travel or request a voucher.

Changes can be made through Iberia’s website, the travel agencies where the purchase was made or the company’s Customer Service Centre, which will boost its staff, although it may have longer waiting times than usual, the airline has warned.

Predicting problems at airports during the strike period, Iberia has appealed to all passengers to check-in in advance via its the website and to arrive at airports earlier than normal.


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