canary islands

Air Europa pilots’ strike: minimum operation levels established

The Spanish government sets minimum services for the Air Europa strike of up to 65% on mainland flights and up to 90% on flights to the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands.

The Spain’s Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda has established the minimum services for the Air Europa pilots’ strike called by the Spanish Airline Pilots’ Union (Sepla) between 19 June and 2 July, which it has set at 90% for flights to the islands and up to 65% for flights to mainland Spain.

According to it, flights to or from non-mainland territories will have to relocate 90% of the passengers who had planned to fly, taking into account the “irreplaceable nature” of air travel for the mobility of non-mainland territories, according to the communiqué.

In addition, domestic flights on the continent that have an alternative route by public transport of more than five hours and international flights must allow for the re-routing of 65% of the passengers who were scheduled to fly on the protected flights.

For flights covering distances that would take less than five hours by public transport, minimum services must guarantee the transfer of 40% of passengers.

100% of those dedicated to emergency work, such as ambulance services, fire-fighting, organ transport for the National Transplant System, surveillance, civil protection and rescue, etc., are always protected.

The criterion for determining minimum services is based on establishing a percentage of flights to be protected with respect to the total number of scheduled flights at each of the airports affected, except in specific cases, such as flights dedicated to emergency work, where 100% protection is established.

The percentage of flights to be protected is calculated by using, together with the percentage of passengers to be relocated, the occupancy factor of the company’s flights, specified for each period during which the strike is called.

On the other hand, and for the purpose of considering intermodal substitution, it is considered that air travel cannot be efficiently substituted by public transport when the distance to be covered is more than 500 kilometres, which translates into a journey time of more than five hours, without forgetting in any case that any alternative already has a certain percentage of occupancy derived from its regular users.


The Ministry has introduced a specific section in this resolution that explains the evolution of minimum service resolutions “in accordance with different pronouncements by different judicial bodies on some previous resolutions, as well as other modifications that aim to clarify the interpretation of the resolution as much as possible”. This measure responds to the “spirit of transparency and continuous improvement that is carried out”, they have assured.

Thus, a detailed protection is established for each airport affected by the strike as opposed to the procedure previously used, which established an average protection for all the airports affected. As for domestic flights to or from non-peninsular territories, as opposed to the previously applied 100% protection, 90% of passengers will be relocated.

And in universal mail and perishable goods transport services – including the transport of medicines and medical equipment, live animals and expatriation and movement of coffins – no protection will be applied in the case of strikes that take place during short time periods.

In addition, flights that are not susceptible to protection, such as those originating and terminating at airports outside Spanish territory, are determined. Likewise, the resolution does not authorise the use of certain practices such as the leasing of aircraft with crew or joint operations, which could limit the right to strike of those calling the strike.

As an annex to the resolution, the list of flights scheduled by the company is included, in order to delimit the flights potentially affected by the resolution. Finally, it explains the reasons why the governmental authority can leave the mere execution and implementation of the minimum services predetermined in the resolution to the company, “always by means of objective criteria in continuous improvement, both for case law and for practical reasons”.

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