Pilot strikes force Vueling to cancel 246 flights

The Spanish budget carrier’s 24-hour strikes are scheduled for 25 and 26 April and 3 and 4 May

Barcelona based low-cost airline Vueling has cancelled 246 flights amid pilot strikes scheduled for today and tomorrow and 3 and 4 May next week.

According to the Spanish airline pilots union SEPLA, the carrier, owned by British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group, has breached employment contracts and has failed to guarantee greater growth in Spain.

The schedule pilot strikes are the first in Vueling's history — Aerovista Luchtfotografie / Shutterstock pilot strikes
The scheduled pilot strikes are the first in Vueling’s history — Aerovista Luchtfotografie / Shutterstock

“We regret to confirm that the Vueling pilots’ union has called for a strike during the 25 and 26 of April. While respecting the right to go on strike, we regret that this situation affects our clients,” Vueling said in an official statement.  

The airline has stressed that 81 per cent of flights will operate normally. Passengers holding tickets for the cancelled flights should already have received a notification by email or text message.

Customers on the affected flights have the option to change flights available within 15 days after the cancelled flight.

Vueling currently employs over 1,000 pilots in Spain and 150 overseas. The unions fear that the situation could change as the airline plans to change its bases.

Juan Manuel Redondo, head of the trade union section of SEPLA at Vueling, said, “Now that Vueling is tripling its profits, and that there have even been distributions of up to €100 million euros of dividends before results, the conditions for the pilots do not change.”

“It’s worse,” said Redondo, “because the company’s only offer, which they say has been rejected by 90 per cent of the pilots is a zero improvement and even worsens the conditions of the previous agreement.”

Vueling pilots also expressed their concerns about inadequate salaries. They claim to receive 30 per cent less on average than their main competitors such as easyJet and Ryanair.

The list of cancelled flights is available here.