Protesting Ryanair cabin crew at Malaga Airport. / MIGUE FERNÁNDEZ

Costa del Sol tourism sector dismayed at UK's Foreign Office travel advice

The British government has warned of problems in Spain due to the Ryanair and easyJet cabin crew strikes, but businesses are concerned that it may cause people to rethink their holidays

Pilar Martínez
PILAR MARTÍNEZ Malaga

The British government has been criticised for warning travellers to Spain of problems due to cabin crew strikes at the Spanish bases of Ryanair and easyJet.

An alert on the Foreign Office website states: “Planned strike action in July may cause some disruption to easyJet and Ryanair flights to and from Spain”. The Foreign Office advice urges travellers to contact the relevant airline if they think they may be affected.

The tourism sector on the Costa considers that this type of warning is not common "when it comes to labour disputes that lead to protests". And it is concerned that, while the British authorities do not advise against travelling to Spain, the alert may cause people to rethink their holidays.

The warning comes as striking Ryanair cabin crew staff led to the cancellation of a flight from Malaga to Milan on Wednesday and delays on thirty flights at Malaga Airport. At a national level, eleven fligths were cancelled, most of them in Barcelona, and more than 200 flights were delayed, according to data from USO, the union calling the strike. The Irish low-cost airline company claimed that only 1 per cent of scheduled operations in the Spanish airport network were affected by strike action on Tuesday.

Ryanair said “the vast majority of Ryanair crews are working as normal” and that the airline expected “minimal disruption to its flights” this month.

Cabin crew from the Irish airline will strike again tomorrow (Friday), when they will be also be joined by cabin crew from the British airline easyJet. Further strike action is planned from 18 to 21 July and from 25 to 28 July at the ten Spanish airports where Ryanair operates.

Ernesto Iglesias, USO´s flight sector coordinator, said that Ryanair “is not complying with the minimum services and that is why the union is maintaining operations".

Iglesias claimed that the company “continues to use professionals from other bases outside Spain to reduce the impact of the strike”.

Ryanair, in a statement, said that “under Article 10 of Royal Decree 17/1977, Ryanair is obliged to operate minimum service flights, in accordance with Spanish law. The crew is obliged to operate the minimum service flights that the Spanish Government has deemed essential to protect passengers´ travel plans. All minimum service flights are clearly communicated to the crew, as strike action is not permitted on protected flights”.