By Humphrey Carter

LAST week's wildcat strike by air traffic controllers which led to the closure of Spanish airspace and airports for over 24 hours have led to a total of 1'026 claims for compensation from affected air passengers being made here in the Balearics.

According to the Director General for Consumer Affairs in Palma yesterday, 96 percent of the compensation claims have been made at the consumer office at Palma airport over the past week.

AN estimated 200'000 people were affected by the covert strike here in the Balearics and the consumer affairs department said that it has never received so many claims for compensation in such a short period of time.

Thousands of people are claiming because their flights were either delayed or cancelled forcing them to book in to hotels or seek alternative methods of transport.

According to the consumer affairs office, the staff are working round the clock to try and resolve the claims as quickly as possible while mounting a campaign to inform consumers of their rights and how they should go about making a claim.

The most important thing is to retain every single booking and holiday document as well as all the receipts corresponding to hotel and food bills.
Also, the consumer affairs office is urging affected passengers who have yet to make a claim, not to wait any longer.
After the hundreds of million of euros lost by the airlines because of the Icelandic ash cloud earlier this year, the last thing they wanted under the current economic climate, was the threat of having to make further multi-million euro pay-outs to passengers.

What is more, the Spanish governments' top law official, Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido, is demanding prison sentences of up to eight years for hundreds of air traffic controllers who organised the strike last weekend. The controllers face charges of sedition under the Criminal Law Procedure of Air Navigation. The controllers are being denounced as insurgents who must face the full force of the state


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