Letter from a Spanish air traffic controller

A letter from an air traffic controller in Madrid, Spain on “Spanish government prepares to use military against air traffic controllers”

I’m an air traffic controller in Madrid, Spain. It’s good to see that finally the play invented by the government is coming to an end. AENA [the state-run Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea] is supposed to be independent, but [Development Minister José] Blanco is taking part in a problem between enterprises and workers. I’m afraid to tell you that Spain is not a democracy anymore. We’re becoming a Bolivarian Republic like Venezuela.


When the PSOE [Socialist Workers Party of Spain] came into government, AENA had 13,000 million euro and now they have a loss of 14,000 million euro. It is so because they began building airports that are not profitable and they knew it. But they got money from the people who were designated to build them. One of them, Grupo San Jose, is closely related to Lema Devesa (he used to be its president), the actual president of AENA. They lost and kept a lot of money and now they made the people think that it is our fault.

I can’t help being angry and disappointed with them, those responsible for the lack of money, calling us thieves, kidnappers and a lot of other things they said to the media. They have taken away from us all the fundamental rights that a person must have, at least in a democracy and a country governed by the Rule of Law.

They don’t care about security, they just care about selling AENA and getting more money, and they are playing with a lot of lives, ours and the passengers’. In July I had two free days, in 29 days I did 35 services because some days we work day shift (from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.) and then night shift (from 10 p.m. until 8 a.m.). We are all exhausted and people “abandon ship” every day because they can’t stand anymore and the doctor tells them to rest.

We have taken this problem to Europe, now we’re waiting for the court in Luxembourg. As in Spain justice is under government control. This is like living under Franco, but with people that call themselves socialists!

I know it’s unbelievable, but it’s the truth.


12 August 2010

For other letters from Spanish air traffic controllers see “Letters from our readers” (August 17).