SPANISH airlines are going to hit the airport authority AENA with a compensation bill for 100 million euros to cover their loses incurred by months of industrial action by air traffic controllers which culminated with the wildcat strike which brought the country to a halt on December 4.
The move was unveiled yesterday by the President of the Association of Spanish Air Transport Companies, Manuel Lopez Colmenarejo.
He said that the covert strike which led to the closure of Spanish airspace for 22 hours earlier this month cost their airlines between 30 and 40 million euros. But, he said that AENA should be held accountable for the year-long dispute with the air traffic controllers which had led to work to rule and other covert action which has led to continual delays.
As far as Colmenarejo is concerned, the airlines should be compensated for a year of poor service from AENA. We have to put up with the highest air traffic control costs in Europe while, according to Eurocontrol, being forced to cope with the highest level of air delays, he said.
AENA also faces the threat of legal action and being hauled before the European Commission if it does not meet the association's demands.
Central government also came under pressure from the opposition Partido Popular yesterday to take measures to compensate the tourist industry for the losses it incurred at the hands of the air traffic controllers such as reducing VAT, cutting airport taxes and investing in the country's struggling resorts.