Legal inquiry launched into Barcelona airport standstill

31st July 2006, Comments 0 comments

31 July 2006, BARCELONA – A Barcelona judge opened an investigation on Monday into complaints made during a weekend of chaos at the city’s airport.

31 July 2006

BARCELONA – A Barcelona judge opened an investigation on Monday into complaints made during a weekend of chaos at the city’s airport.

Some passengers have complained they were kept against their will in planes as ground staff occupied the runways at El Prat airport on Friday.

The wildcat strike action over the loss of Iberia’s baggage handling licence paralysed the airport on Friday and led to countless delays and missed flights at the weekend and on Monday.

The Civil Guard has said it will also be investigating alleged damage to the wing of a plane by workers.

The Spanish minister for public works and buildings, Magdalena Alvarez, also opened an inquiry to determine responsibility for the illegal industrial action at the airport. She said she would report her findings to the Congress.

Conservative opposition members have blamed the government for not ordering the police to remove workers who were occupying the runways.

PP secretary general Angel Acebes said the government’s passivity had created "unprecedented chaos" and a "shameful image" of Spain throughout the world.

However, the government defended the decision not to use the Civil Guard. Interior minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said the decision was taken in order to avoid a "pitched battle". There were 300 "very radicalised" workers, he said and the petrol that there was on the runway could have created a dangerous situation.

The industrial action was called off when Iberia reached an agreement with Aena over the workers’ grievances.

On Monday, passengers were still facing lengthy queues to check in their baggage, which meant some missed their flights.

Some passengers were still waiting for flights after two or three nights sleeping at the airport.

Other passengers had been sent to hotels for the night over the weekend, only to find the rooms were overbooked and they had to sleep in hotel corridors or lounges.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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