Spain declares State of Alert after wildcat strikes
The Spanish government has declared a State of Alert following a walkout by air traffic controllers, which has left at least 20,000 Britons stranded.
04 Dec 2010
Hundreds of thousands of passengers were left stranded by the walkout, which came during one of Spain’s busiest weekends for travel.
The Spanish government was holding crisis talks to try and force the air traffic controllers back to work, and police were gathering at the control centres in case the government decided to arrest the controllers.
“If the situation doesn’t normalise, the government will declare a state of emergency,” said Alfredo Rubalcaba, deputy prime minister, ahead of a hastily assembled cabinet meeting in Madrid.
“The controllers will be mobilised and if they don’t get back to work, their cases will be passed immediately to the judiciary and they will be accused of a crime which could mean a prison sentence.”
Madrid airport announced that it would be shut until at least 6am on Sunday, and police were restricting access to the terminals.
One Spanish air traffic controller told The Daily Telegraph that the talks were likely to continue all day – meaning airports could well be closed for much of the afternoon.
Iberia and several other airlines in Spain said they will not be offering any services until Sunday morning.