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French air-traffic controller strike hits major Spanish terminals; flights to Brussels cancelled due to terrorist attack
thinkSPAIN , Tuesday, March 22, 2016

FLIGHTS all over Spain have been cancelled because of the French air-traffic controller strike.

And any connections to Belgium's Charleroi airport will not be taking off today following the explosion at the American Airlines boarding gate which has killed at least one person, and possibly up to 11.

The blast is thought to be the work of terrorists, and comes just four days after the Paris attack fugitive Salah Abdesalam was caught in the Brussels suburb of Molenbeek – a gun-fuelled police crackdown in which at least one person was shot dead.

Charleroi airport was evacuated at 09.25hrs this morning and a message from Belgian air authorities on Twitter told passengers: “Don't go to the airport. All flights are cancelled.”

Following the French air-traffic control strike on Sunday and running through into yesterday (Monday), Alicante-Elche airport in El Altet confirmed 30 planes were grounded.

But they are expected to be taking off as normal now the strike has ended, albeit some may suffer long delays.

Numerous British passengers queued up at the Ryanair desk after finding their planes to London Stansted were not going to take off, and the Irish carrier has condemned the strikers.

With French air-space shut all day yesterday, dozens of European destinations were affected including the UK, since flights have to cross over France from Spain to reach it.

Ryanair had to cancel 13 flights, and many of the passengers – including families with small children – were forced to book a hotel for the night.

A similar situation was seen at Murcia airport in San Javier, near Cartagena, also involving Ryanair since this is one of the main carriers to the UK from the Costa Cálida.

A total of 12 flights to and from Barcelona, three arriving and four leaving from Madrid, and one each way involving Sevilla had to be cancelled on Sunday, some of which were heading for France itself and others to different European countries but crossing through French air space.

In total, over 275 flights to and from Spain were cancelled yesterday.

Long delays were reported by various airlines between Spain, the UK and other northern European countries because of having to find different flight paths.

Three female students from Valencia were stuck in Bordeaux for over 36 hours, waiting to see whether they have any way of getting home.

They had been in the south-western French city staying with a friend they had met on an Erasmus year out.

Amparo Morales, Nuria Bailén and Andrea Pérez were due to return to Valencia on an 18.30hrs flight on Sunday, but found out second-hand that it had been cancelled.

Last night, they were waiting to find out whether their new flight, scheduled for 20.30hrs but delayed by two hours, would take off.

It is not known whether they have made it back to Spain or are still waiting in Bordeaux.



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