The move by the Ministry for Public Works is in line with recommendations made by Eurocontrol auditors. The report was requested by the Spanish National Airports Authority (AENA) as part of an agreement reached with Spanish air traffic controllers following wildcat industrial action in December last year. Amongs the measures recommended by Eurocontrol is the increase in capacity of service areas which appear to be most under pressure, to continue improvements in coordination between civil and military air operations, provide services where there is a registered demand for them and restructure the chain of command to provide better overall control of personnel and airport services.
After acknowledging that in recent months the punctuality of some flights hadn't been the best, Minister Blanco insisted that more than half of delays registered in April were due to airline operations and only 25 percent were the fault of AENA. Using data provided by Eurocontrol, Blanco added that there were also factors adding to delays which had been outside human control such as volcanic ash clouds and climate. The Minister said that after what he described as internal restructuring, there had been significant differences in the level of punctuality. At the same terminal under surveillance, he claimed, there had been a 20% improvement over and above average figures for the network, and in some cases, he furthered, a 40% improvement.
Blanco also defended his corner against the Opposition Partido Popular who had accused the government of not providing enough controllers. Another 83 controllers have been trained this year, said the Minister, adding that non-government employed controllers will be able to start work in the towers at the start of 2012.