Withdrawal of Spain’s military from air traffic control

Today the Spanish parliament will pass a decree which will end military control of Spanish airports following the declaration of a state of emergency on 4th December 2010 a day after Spanish air traffic controllers called a wild cat strike. The military’s control of Spanish airspace is due to end at midnight tomorrow.

When the crisis arose on 3rd of december the government immediately placed air traffic controllers under the orders of the Ministry of Defence but when it became obvious that this was not having the desired effect and the situation did not return to normal then a state of emergency was declared for the duration of 15 days.

However before the first 15 days were over parliament approved a motion which extended the state of emergency for another 15 days. This was seen as a necessary step in order to guarantee the normal running of Spanish air traffic over the busy Christmas period.

The Spanish President, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, made it very clear in his last press conference of 2010 that he did not intend to extend the state of emergency beyond 15th January 2011.