In the summer of 2022 Mallorca Airport was affected by strikes, some of which are still continuing. Several different staff groups took part in industrial action. Here is an overview.
The strike action by Spain-based Ryanair staff that started in June of this year has been extended all the way through to the 7th of January 2023. It is taking place on 4 days every week (Monday to Thursday).
While there have been some delays and a few cancellations during the strike action so far, the impact on Palma de Mallorca has been limited, as Spanish law demands that airlines maintain a minimum service.
If you are due to travel with Ryanair, please enquire with the airline prior to your flight.
Palma Airport experienced strike action by multiple organisations and different staff groups over the summer of 2022.
The following airlines were affected by strikes:
Easyjet cabin crew were on strike on the following dates: 1., 2., 3., 15., 16., 17, July 2022. Further planned strikes on 29., 30. and 31. July 2022 were called off after an agreement was reached.
Next in line for Easyjet strike action were the Spain-based pilots. A walk-out took place on three 3-day periods in August: Friday, 12/8 to Sunday, 14/8, Friday, 19/8 to Sunday, 21/8 and Saturday, 27/8 to Monday, 29/8.
Lauda is a Ryanair subsidiary with base in Vienna. The strike action that was planned for 10 different days in July was called off on 28/6/2022.
The cabin crew of this low-cost airline of the Iberia group, which provides a connection between Palma de Mallorca and Madrid Barajas Airport was on strike for 10 days, from Sunday, 28/8/2022 until Tuesday, 6/9/2022.
The pilots for Eurowings Germany were on strike for a 24-hour period on 6th October 2022, which impacted on some flights to and from Mallorca.
Eurowings staff walked out from Monday, 17th October to Wednesday, 19th October, which caused several flight cancellations and delays.
Contrary to recent news reports in the British press, Spanish airport staff are not currently planning any strike action.
The planned walkout by cleaning personnel, which was to begin on 4/7, was called off, after an agreement on a pay increase was reached.
Flights between Mallorca and several European countries pass through French airspace, so an air traffic controllers’ strike in France also impacts on flights to and from Mallorca. The strikes in June and in mid-September of this year caused some delays and cancellations. Further strike action by the air traffic controllers that was planned for 28/9 – 30/9/2022 has now been called off, after an agreement was reached.
Airport strikes seem to be part and parcel of summer holidays and Mallorca is no different. Summer peak season airport strikes are the worst possibility for travellers when most disruption will be caused and sadly the timing is no coincidence.
Knowing what to expect really depends on what type of strike action is being taken and who is striking.
The worst situation is a widespread walkout of workers, resulting in the stoppage of a critical service, whether it be for 24 hours or longer. A general strike essentially brings an airport to its knees and all passengers will be badly affected.
While this type of airport strike may be a cause for anxiety and a threat to your holiday, luckily in recent times it hasn’t been so frequent.
The most common type of strike to expect at Palma airport is ‘fix period’ stoppages. These are typically of 2-4h hours in duration and happen two or three times in a 24 hour day for up to a week at a time.
While very disruptive to passengers and airlines, in most cases your holiday is safe as flights will still depart and arrive albeit with some possible delays or even rescheduling.
The type of airport occupation striking also makes a difference to how disruptive a strike will be. Baggage handlers striking, which is quite common at Palma, will mean a backlog of luggage.
This means passengers are in for a lengthy wait for their baggage or that they will be without their stuff for a period of time. This could cause real problems although in most cases it will mean a little extra waiting. If the strike is a complete walkout it could cause the airport to close although this is unlikely.
A few years back coach drivers went on strike, which doesn’t sound so serious but it caused such congestion of passengers at Palma airport that there was talk of closing the airport. Flights still went though.
Air traffic controllers striking in a complete walkout would bring the airport to a grinding halt. In most cases, this won’t happen for a couple of reasons.
In the interests of safety and national security Spanish law technically bans air traffic controllers from completely walking out. Air traffic controllers are not to have less than 70 percent of staff on duty during a strike.
This means the airport will function but with possible delays and rescheduling. Also, Spanish air traffic controllers have recently been taking fixed period stoppages rather than a full strike.
Another reassuring point is that in the past Spain’s military have been called in to handle the air traffic control during general strikes. However, this is a last resort and the military would probably struggle to man all the airports in Spain in the event of a national walkout.
Airlines and airports advise passengers to monitor their flights and their websites closely and prepare for delays. Sometimes with a strike looming a flight may be brought forward by a few hours. You can check your flight status here.
Passengers finding themselves trapped for up to three or more hours without taking preparatory measures could face an unpleasant wait.
Travelers should pack enough clothing, snacks, fluids, and especially vital medication for a potential delay.
Airlines will try to operate a full schedule, however, in most cases, flights are delayed.
Sometimes airlines will try to avoid delays and the strike period by bringing flights forward. Other flights during the strike period may be rescheduled for a few hours later, often to the early hours of the morning.
When a flight is cancelled airlines will try to contact passengers to save them an unnecessary journey to the airport, this is usually via email or an SMS.
A few airlines will operate larger aircraft to catch up with the buildup of passengers from cancelled flights.
Tour operators and some airlines will try to look after the needs of their passengers in whatever way they can, often with refreshments, but isn’t to be expected.
Some tour operators will make contingency plans and reserve hotel rooms in the event that their clients will be stranded.