Big fines arrive 10 years later for Madrid air controllers

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Big fines arrive 10 years later for Madrid air controllers
DECEMBER 2010: Chaos at Madrid airport during air controllers’ strike Credit: thehindu.com

SPANISH air controllers who caused travel chaos with their 2010 strike have been fined between €15,000 and €31,500 each.

Ten years on, a Madrid criminal court found 131 Madrid-Barajas controllers guilty of “abandoning a public post” just as Spain prepared for December’s two public holidays on December 6 and 8.

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Protesting about changes in their working conditions, the air controllers called an unofficial strike resulting in 5,000 cancelled flights that involved 700,000 travellers.

Spain’s then-president Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero solved the problem by declaring a State of Emergency and calling in the military to supervise the control towers and centre.

During the trial, 119 of the accused air controllers came to an agreement with the Fiscal (Public Prosecutor), while two – one of whom was Cesar Cabo, ex-spokesman of the USCA union – were acquitted owing to lack of evidence against them.


Judge Margarita Valcarce also ordered the controllers, together with Airports’ Authority Enaire (formerly Aena), to pay €13.076 million compensation to the affected travellers.

During the trial USCA’s present spokesman Daniel Zamit, declared that the air controllers did not go on strike in December 2010.


Instead he accused Zapatero of wanting to “kick up a fuss” to justify militarising Barajas.


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