Problems at the airline Vueling, which have given rise to repeated delays and cancellations, are concerning the Balearic government as well the governments of Catalonia (where the airline is based) and Spain.
Regional tourism minister Biel Barceló is worried that there might be further problems at the end of the month and start of August, which is when Air Europa pilots have signalled their intention to go on strike. The regional government, which has no control over air transport, is demanding that measures be taken in order to prevent difficulties for the travelling public.
Barceló notes that delays and cancellations are always negative. He says that the government is watching the situation with Vueling closely, adding that it does not back anything which inconveniences residents and tourists. He stresses that a company (Vueling) has a responsibility which it must meet.
Meanwhile, Vueling, under pressure from the national ministry of development (which has threatened to withdraw its licence to operate) and the Catalonian government, has told that government that everything will be fine this weekend. There won't be any cancellations, it insists, albeit there could be some rescheduling of flights. The airline has now introduced another Jumbo its fleet.
On Monday, Vueling senior managers were hauled up in front of what is a hastily established committee to monitor its operations. While Vueling was confident it could meet demand this weekend, a very business one as it marks the start of holidays for many people, there will be a further meeting next week to consider how it will cope with the even busier weekend at the end of the month, one that is concerning the Balearic government.
And further to these concerns, the government as now initiated disciplinary proceedings. The transport minister Marc Pons has cited government support for passengers who have suffered as a consequence of the airline's scheduling problems as the reason for opening proceedings designed to extract compensation.
In presenting the government's case, Pons was unable to give an exact figure of the number of passengers who have been affected. He also conceded that Vueling does appear to have taken steps to remedy problems, such as increasing staff levels and placing eight aircraft on standby. However, he didn't accept that improvements were guaranteed. The government will, therefore, be looking at every flight to see if promises are being met.
Pons was speaking after a meeting with Silvia Estevil, the head of institutional relations at the airline. In seeking accurate information regarding passengers, he told her that a request has been submitted to the airports authority Aena in order to be able to identify how many cancellations have occurred. He added that the government has also sent a letter to the national ministry of development, asking what it intends to do about Vueling's failings.
The checking of the airline's flights is to come under a special committee to monitor performance that consists of representatives from the tourism ministry, the department for consumer affairs and the directorate for ports and airports. The director of consumer affairs, Francesc Dalmau, pointed out that between January and June there was an average of twelve complaints per month regarding Vueling, with these peaking in April and June and now also in July.