It is not only French air traffic controllers who are taking industrial action, controllers in Barcelona have until Friday to decide whether to strike or not.

Palma airport

Nearly half a million passengers at Palma airport could be affected by French industrial action this weekend.

29-07-2016Teresa Ayuga

The clock is ticking and the Balearic and Spanish governments are desperately trying to find ways in which they can minimalise the affects of the French air traffic control strike this weekend which could be followed by industrial action by air traffic controllers in Barcelona.

Airlines have already warned of flight chaos between 28 June and 2 July now that air traffic controllers across France have backed their colleagues in Marseilles in industrial action.

But, air traffic controllers in Barcelona have until Friday to inform the government of whether they are going to take strike action or not.

However, unlike the French, the Spanish can not take industrial action over night, they have to give 15 days notice.

Industrial action by the French could almost cripple Spanish air space and that will hit thousands of flights coming into the country from the United Kingdom and northern Europe.

During the five days of industrial action by the French, Palma airport will handle 550,000 passengers and 3,800 flights and French controllers have been carrying out flash strikes since March as they attempt to exert pressure on the government for better pay and working conditions.

Therefore, with the French government in the middle of the dispute, Madrid has contacted the French government and the Prime Minister, Emmanuel Macron, in an attempt to try and force the French authorities to adopt short to mid term measures which will ease the chaos industrial action will cause.

In the meantime, Madrid has its own domestic problems with air traffic controllers and ground staff who are threatening industrial action over the course of the peak season.

Barcelona, Majorca, Ibiza and Minorca could be particularly affected by strike action in protest over rotas and days off.

It is not yet clear how strike action could affect holidays.

Because it is airport workers who are striking, rather than pilots or cabin crew, it does not necessarily mean all flights to Spain will be cancelled.

But with ground staff and air traffic control staff likely to strike, serious delays to flight schedules are inevitable - as are some flight cancellations and sources close to the talks have indicated that an agreement is “unlikely”.Some sectors of the tourist industry in the Balearics have reported that the threat of summer travel chaos is turning potential holiday makers away and has also already led to some tourists cancelling their bookings.