The Balearic Islands suffered considerable delays in air traffic yesterday, just as this year’s holiday season approaches its busiest period. 48 flights were effected in Mallorca, with delays averaging 58 minutes on salidas (outgoing flights) and 39 minutes on llegadas (incoming flights). 40 more flights were delayed in and out of Ibiza, plus 12 more effecting Menorca.
This time, the delays were not caused by volcanic ash but by a lack of staff at the towers of the Barcelona Air Traffic Control Centre, according to the Spanish Airport Authority AENA (Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea). A total of 2,386 air traffic controllers are normally working their shifts in the Barcelona air space area but, yesterday only some 2,000 employees showed up for work, causing staff shortages of more than 15 % due to medical shortcomings such as stress, pregnancy and so forth. AENA suspect an organized activity by the controllers. There may be no solution to the staff problem in the short run, and flight delays are expected to continue for the duration of the Summer.
The photo was taken near Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: July 18th, 2010. The time was 22:59:37.