A series of planned strikes in the Spanish transportation system has prompted hundreds of cancellations by airlines Vueling and Ryanair, as well as the Renfe train network. The country’s Public Works Ministry has established minimum services aimed at alleviating the disruption, which will coincide with the return of many travelers from their August vacation.
Ryanair said that all passengers affected by the cancellations have received notifications via email or text message of the options available
Despite its cabin crew planning 10 days of strikes for September, with pilots also staging stoppages on five of the same days, Ryanair has only canceled 14 flights of the 1,900 scheduled to and from Spain for the first two days of the industrial action. It has pulled six flights on September 1, and eight on September 2.
The airline explained that this low number – just 0.7% of the total flights for the two days – is possible “thanks to the great work of the majority of our Spanish pilots and cabin crew who have already confirmed that they will continue to operate according to their planned timetables, or are offering to work on their days off, with the aim of not altering the travel plans of our customers and their families in September.”
The Irish carrier added that all those passengers affected by the cancellations have been sent notifications via email or text message of the options available to them, which include a free flight change or a complete refund. Passengers who have not received these notifications will be able to fly.
Ryanair has called on the USO and Sitcpla unions, which represent cabin crew, and the SEPLA union, which represents pilots, to call off the planned stoppages, which have been called over the airline’s plans to close a number of its bases across Spain and Portugal.
Spain’s Public Works Ministry has already set minimum service levels for the first cabin crew strike days, protecting all of the flights to the Canary and Balearic Islands, 60% of the flights within the peninsula and to international destinations where the flight time is five hours or above, and 35% of flights within the peninsula with a flight time below five hours
Iberia and Vueling
Following the last failed meeting between Iberia management and union leaders, ground staff will walk off the job on August 30 and 31 at Madrid-Barajas and Barcelona-El Prat. The company has cancelled 102 flights – six departing from Barcelona and the rest from Madrid.
For its part, Vueling has canceled 92 flights this weekend at the Barcelona-El Prat airport, due to the strike called by Iberia ground staff. Both airlines are part of the IAG group, which also owns British Airways. A total of 54 flights have been canceled on Friday and 38 on Saturday, The cancellations have affected around 14,000 Vueling passengers, who have been offered an alternative flight or a refund.
State-owned railway operator Renfe will cancel 360 train journeys this weekend, given the partial strikes that have been called by the CGT labor union for this Friday and Sunday. These stoppages are the last in a series by Renfe this summer, and involve two four-hour strikes a day.
The Public Works Ministry has set minimum service that guarantee 78% of AVE high-speed trains and 65% of regional trains. Of the cancellations, 118 are AVE services and 242 regional journeys.
English version by Simon Hunter.