Iberia has cancelled all Spanish flights after a walk-out by the country's air traffic controllers shut down most of its airspace.
The Spanish Public Works Ministry issued a statement confirming that the controllers had "abandoned their workplace in massive numbers," two hours after their change of shift at 5:00 p.m. hours local time. The controllers abandoned their posts on Friday evening amid a lengthy dispute over working conditions and after Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and his ministers approved a package of austerity measures - including a move to partially privatise airports and hand over management of the Madrid and Barcelona airports to the private sector.
Iberia cancelled all Spanish flights today and recommends that passengers should not go to airports and those who are there should return home or go to hotels. All Iberia flights in Spain were cancelled until 6am (0500 GMT) tomorrow.
At least 150,000 passengers will have their flights affected. Stranded passengers have begun their own protests in various airports against the lack of information from airlines and the air-traffic controllers.