Spain’s air space is slowly reopening as air traffic controllers return to work after Madrid declared a state of “alert” over their wildcat strike.
Air traffic had been virtually paralysed since controllers called in sick en masse on Friday afternoon.
But it is expected to take up to 48 hours for services to get back to normal as many airlines had already cancelled all flights for the day.
The government move followed an emergency cabinet meeting.
The deputy prime minister, Alfredo Peres Rubalcaba explained that the state of alert meant air traffic controllers had effectively been “mobilised” which means those who dont return to work could face military charges.
The controllers are angry over plans to make them work longer and a partial privatisation of the industry. But even union leaders had called on them to return to their posts.
The strike came at the start of a five day pre-Christmas break in Spain and left hundreds of thousands of passengers stranded.