Delays are possible in Palma because of a lack of air-traffic controllers

30-09-2016Patricia Lozano

The UCSA air-traffic controllers union is warning of potential delays to flights this summer because of personnel shortage. At the Balearics control centre in Palma there are at present 111 controllers, six fewer than in August last year. At the Son Sant Joan control tower there are 47 controllers - two fewer.

This problem is not confined to the Balearics. All control centres in Spain have shortages, but Barcelona, Madrid and the Balearics are the most affected because they deal with the highest levels of traffic.

The state air navigation company Enaire had not recruited new controllers for several years, which is why there is a deficiency. It is now recruiting, but UCSA say this is not enough. Fifteen new controllers have come to the Balearics but they will not be ready to take up duties before the start of the new season - 1 April. Controllers who are in charge of training will, thereafter, not have enough time to devote to this.

Indicative of the shortage is the fact on 28 February two controllers had to relocate, having been selected for duties elsewhere last year. Six days earlier, UCSA point out, Enaire had said that they would be staying, which showed that Enaire were aware they were needed.

The Balearics control centre needs twenty more controllers. While there are new controllers, they will not, because of training needs, be truly effective until next year.