New threat of strikes for Spanish airports due to the privatisation of AENA

by Lorraine Williamson
privatisation plans at Malaga airport

MADRID – AENA workers in Málaga have threatened strikes ahead of the busy summer season if the transport minister goes ahead with privatisation plans for the airport’s control tower. 

The claim to privatise the control tower in Malaga, alongside those at the following airports is part of a decision by the Ministry of Transport.

  • Palma de Mallorca
  • Tenerife South
  • Tenerife North
  • Gran Canaria
  • Bilbao
  • Santiago

Possible strike from March 26 

If the ministry goes ahead with the privatisation, CCOO will immediately call for a strike by the entire workforce that AENA has in Málaga, a union spokesperson said on Monday. The plan is to open on March 26, before the start of the high season that coincides with Semana Santa. 

Fear of quality service 

The move would result in a total closure of the Málaga facility and would affect the 560 employees, including 86 of the control tower. However, the proposal was strongly criticised by unions and workers. They fear the quality of service will suffer and that the cost savings will only benefit private companies. 

Cogesa Expats


A demonstration was held outside the airport’s Terminal 3 on Monday, with support from air traffic controllers and airport firefighters. If privatisation goes ahead, the current controllers will be replaced by relatively inexperienced individuals. Málaga’s existing staff will be transferred to control centres in cities such as Seville, Madrid, Barcelona or Palma. 

Trade unions and left-wing parties are against it 

The government has come under increasing pressure from trade unions and left-wing parties, including the PSOE and Unidas Podemos, who have spoken out against the move. It would be the largest privatisation of Spanish air traffic management since 2010 when the liberalisation of this sector began. 

Related post: Air traffic controllers in Spain announce strikes 

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