Chaos at Palma airport caused by the December 2010 strike. | Jaume Morey

The Balearic High Court has ruled that the 82 air-traffic controllers considered to have been responsible for causing flight chaos in December 2010 do not have to advance a combined liability bond of three million euros.

The court has decided that as they are high earners it is assumed that they will have sufficient means to meet the payment of fines and costs. In the event of conviction, the court argues, there is no risk of payment not being made. The demand for the bond, it believes, only complicates the judicial process.

The three million euros bond was a measure determined by the judge heading the investigation into the actions by air-traffic controllers who staged a coordinated stoppage, claiming sickness. This stoppage has been described by the prosecution service as a "pantomime".

It still isn't entirely clear which route the judicial process will take. Fines are one thing, but there is the issue of potential prison sentences. These could be as long as eight years for acts of sedition, as provided for in laws governing air navigation. The more likely route is the charge of disobedience. This would bring with it a two-year disqualification of the air-traffic controllers.

The prosecution service is claiming compensation for 300 passengers. The highest individual amount is 60,000 euros for a man who was unable to get to his mother's funeral.