Unions representing employees of state-run Spanish airport authority Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (AENA) are threatening strikes for 19 days between April and July in response to the government’s plan to sell off 49% stakes in the country’s airports currently controlled by AENA.
This latest threat comes after a walk out by Spanish air traffic controllers closed Spanish air space last December, effectively crippling the country’s airports, with the army taking over all essential functions. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero ended the strike by threatening controllers with jail sentences unless they returned to work.
[In a related move, Ryanair Ceo Michael O’Leary has asked the European Commission to intervene to prevent any industrial action by advocating anti-strike clauses for airport services-Ed].
HOPING TO RAISE $41.7BN
As reported already, the Spanish Government is now hoping to raise up to E.30bn ($41.7bn) from the airports’ sale process, with plans to complete the minority-stake sell-offs by mid-2012 as part of its master plan to reduce the country’s huge national debt.
While the government plans to offer 49% stakes in AENA’s airports, it is hoping to generate premium sale interest from local and foreign companies by ring fencing the country’s two largest airports of Madrid and Barcelona and offering long-term operating concessions to the private sector for these two airports.