Air traffic controllers demand more staff

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Air traffic controllers demand more staff

STAFF at Malaga Airport are demanding more air traffic controllers due to an increase in flights.

The union has asked for around 20 more employees after an increase in air traffic has caused a “complicated situation.”

The request was made at a Union of Air Traffic Controllers (USCA) event in the Melia hotel, Torremolinos, where representatives claimed its existing work force was ageing and also having to deal with more flights, leading to their service falling below “the expected quality.”

Raul Delgado, their representative, said “at least a 25 per cent” increase in staff was necessary, bringing the number of controllers to 95 to meet the new demand.  He added, “with the current number of staff at the Malaga control tower we cannot meet the airport’s plans to open a second runway up to 16 hours a day next summer.”

The news comes after air traffic control were forced to step in at Malaga Airport in August after a British father and his son allegedly dazzled pilots with laser pointers.

If found guilty, the men, aged 41 and 15, could be handed fines of between €30,000 and €600,000 for breaching the Citizen Security Law, according to the Provincial Commissary.

The accused were identified by an off-duty National Police officer who was staying at the same hotel, the Don Pablo de Torremolinos.  The policeman allegedly saw two people on a sixth-floor terrace pointing lasers “indiscriminately” in the air and at three planes, as well as vehicles driving in the area at around 11pm.

The National Police officer called 091, telling his colleagues about the incident.  A patrol car was sent to the hotel, where staff helped the police locate the room of the accused, which officers then searched, finding small, green laser pointers.

Police confiscated the pens and took statements from the two, who apparently accepted their guilt, according to media reports.

At the same time as the incident, several pilots alerted Malaga Airport’s air traffic control tower they had been dazzled by lasers, saying they believed they came from the Bajondillo area, where the hotel is.  It is not believed anyone was injured in the incident.

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