At the beginning of 2024, Spanish airline Iberia is facing a significant challenge. A massive strike by ‘handling’ personnel has resulted in the cancellation of 444 flights around Epiphany.
This falls on January 6th and marks the end of the Christmas holiday for many Spaniards as they return home. The strike is organized by the unions UGT and Comisiones Obreras and affects approximately 8,000 employees.
The root of the conflict
The origins of this strike lie in the loss of Iberia’s handling service at eight of Spain’s largest airports, a decision made by Aena in September. This has led to dissatisfaction among employees as they may have to transition to other companies that have taken over the services. Iberia, part of the IAG group, has not reached an agreement on establishing its own handling service for its airlines that have not obtained the necessary licenses.
Impact on travelers and flights
The strike, focused on the Epiphany period, is scheduled for January 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th, 2024. Consequently, 444 flights operated by Iberia (270), Iberia Express (74), and Air Nostrum (110) have been canceled, affecting 45,641 passengers. This may also have an impact on hundreds of flights with destinations within Spain. Iberia operates at 29 Spanish airports, including the busiest ones such as Madrid, Barcelona, Palma, Alicante, Valencia, Málaga, Sevilla, Bilbao, and Tenerife, making the strike’s impact extensive.
Advice for travelers
Travelers with scheduled flights on Iberia during these dates are advised to contact the airline to check if their flight is affected. Iberia is offering affected passengers the option to change their travel dates or request a full refund. Customers with flights not directly affected by the strike can also change their travel date or request a voucher.
Due to anticipated airport disruptions, Iberia recommends that all passengers check in online well in advance and arrive at the airport with ample time. This is a precautionary measure to minimize potential inconveniences.
Traveling within Spain
Since airlines like Iberia Express and Air Nostrum primarily offer domestic flights, many Spanish travelers will be affected. You can check this website to see which flights have been canceled.