A European Union rule that requires English to be the official language between pilots and
air-traffic controllers has come into force – and, curiously, even applies where both parties
share a native tongue that is not English.
The rule only affects airports with over 50,000 international flights operating per year,
meaning Madrid’s Adolfo Suárez-Barajas and Barcelona’s El Prat will become ‘English-
only’, but many others, such as those in the Canary and Balearic Islands, will still be able to
choose the language they wish to speak in.
Aiming to streamline communications for maximum security, pilots and air-traffic
controllers having to speak English is not a problem, since being able to do so fluently is a
basic requirement of their job.
But pilot unions in Spain SEPLA and USCA say it is ‘ludicrous’ to require this when both
pilot and air-traffic controller are native Spanish-speakers. Captains on board Iberia, Vueling
and AirEuropa – all three being Spanish carriers and typically staffed with natives – will
have to talk to the control towers in Barcelona and Madrid, also staffed with natives, in
USCA and SEPLA criticise the fact that the move ‘has not taken into account’ the criteria of
the professionals involved, and that using a language which is a foreign tongue to both rather
than the native one they share ‘is unlikely to bring about any potential air safety
Also, the unions say previous research by the State Air Safety Agency (AESA) has shown
that in a crisis situation where fast thinking and action is vital, it is better for the people
involved to use their mother tongue to communicate in order to avoid misunderstandings or
split-second delays that could ‘compromise security in delicate circumstances’.
USCA and SEPLA also point out the irony of a situation which means pilots from Spain can
speak Spanish to air-traffic controllers anywhere in Latin America, given that natives share
the same language, but cannot use it when speaking to each other in Spain.
“For effective communication the best solution is, without doubt, for air-traffic controllers
and pilots to use the native language they have in common,” say the unions.
Continuing with our interview taken from N332 RoadWatch magazine, we explain more of the
questions raised through erroneous posts on some websites, social media and, occasionally, in print.
8º. Washing your vehicle on public roads. 30 – 3,000€ fine.
We covered this topic quite recently. Many people are astonished about this rule, but each Town
Hall has its own legislation, and most of them don't let citizens clean their vehicle on public roads.
Think that when you clean your vehicle on the road you use water and soap, and bikers, riders,
elderly people can slip as a result of your actions, even if a vehicle has to brake suddenly, to avoid an
accident on a slippery street, it will travel more distance so it will be more difficult to stop in time.
Apart from that, when you clean a car on a public street, you are dirtying a public road. So it is not
fair to ask owners of the dog to clean up after the animals do their businesses and we clean our
vehicles on the road.
Ask your Town Hall if you want to know if it is allowed or not and about how much the fine is
because all is legislated differently in each town.
9º Passenger with feet on the dashboard. 100€ fine.
The fine is 80€ not 100€ and it is the driver who is the person responsible for all passengers in the
vehicle, and ensuring they keep a proper position in the vehicle, so the driver will be fined in these
In the event of an accident, the passenger has a significantly increased risk of suffering fatal injuries
on the spot, if they have their feet on the dashboard.
10º.Throwing a cigarette out the window. 200€ fine and 4 points.
This fine could be much higher if your action causes a fire. In this case, you will be prosecuted,
paying all the costs of the extinction, even going to prison if the costs are high or if anyone is unjured
11º. Not carrying your driving license. 10€ fine.
The law states you must take your licence with you, but nowadays, the traffic police take computers
in their vehicles and they can check on the spot if you have a licence or not, as long as you can
properly identify yourself.
In the future, it will be compulsory to take an official document with photo to prove your identity
and this fine will be removed.
Remember that if you have a European Licence and you don´t show it to the officers, they can only
check Spanish licences. In Spain, it is a criminal offence to not have a licence, so you can be arrested
and spend the night in the cells if you cannot prove to the officers that you have a licence.
Remember, the 10€ fine is when you hold a licence but don´t take it with you, and it is only applied
to Spanish licences.
12º. Carrying 6 or 7 people in the car. 80€ fine.
The fine will be 200€ or 80€, depending on the excess of occupants. The vehicle will be immobilised
until another vehicle or taxi can take the rest of the passengers. The fine is for the driver.
Remember, only trust information from reputable or official sources, if you have any doubts about
traffic law you can speak to the Guardia Civil officers behind the Facebook page by sending them a
message, visit n332.es, or dgt.es, or consult with a solicitor or other official body.
Airlines have warned of long queues at passport control on landing in EU countries due to
greater checks in light of the rising terror risk across the continent.
And in Barcelona, strike action has led to delays increasing even more, with waits of up to
four hours to get through.
Passengers travelling to Europe from States not in the Schengen passport-free zone are now
checked on databases rather than simply flashing their passport at a police officer.
All this is taking so long that many passengers have reported missing their flights, despite
getting to the airports over three hours before take-off, and being refused entry to the front of
the queue for those which are about to board.
Ryanair, EasyJet and British Airways have all warned passengers to allow several hours'
extra time, and have all criticised the fact that the busiest time of the travelling year – August
– combined with the extra checks have not been properly planned for.
Very few airports have been supplied with extra staff to cover the increased workload.
Minister for aviation in Britain, Lord Callanan, says he is in contact with air travel bosses in
Spain, Portugal and Italy to try to convince them to take greater steps to ensure movements
through passport control upon leaving and arriving were streamlined 'so people can just get
on with their holidays'.
Although the governments in Spain and France have promised to supply additional staff, as
yet nothing has been done.
In one case, a flight to Birmingham left Barcelona airport with 22 empty seats because of
queues passengers had no idea about until they reached the terminal – and although they
begged to go to the front of the queue as their flight was due to board, they were refused and
sent to the back.
Meanwhile, Ryanair has told all British nationals or anyone travelling to and from Britain to
ensure they get to the airport at least three hours before they are due to fly – even if they have
no checked luggage.
Barcelona airport strikes are taking place every Friday until September, and these are also
creating a knock-on effect on the rest of the week.
Spain has always been a popular destination for British holidaymakers all year round and according to the latest Official Airline Guide (OAG) data, the UK-Spain market is the largest European country pairing this winter season.
Compared to last year’s winter months, the market has grown by more than 12 percent for the number of seats and flights between Spain and the UK suggesting that more and more Brits looking for winter sun are choosing Spain as their desired destination.
The pairing between the UK and Spain being named as the largest in Europe is not only good for the airlines but also positive news for the Spanish property market, as Marc Pritchard, Sales and Marketing Director of leading homebuilder Taylor Wimpey España, explains.
He said: “The increase in the number of flights and seats available between Spain and the UK reaffirms the high demand for the Spanish sunshine as Brits seek an escape from the dreary winter weather at home.
“With short haul flights from the UK to Spain proving the most popular routes in Europe, Taylor Wimpey España is ready to accommodate this winter sun demand with the launch of a new residential phase on the La Recoleta III development on the border of Orihuela Costa and Torrevieja.
“This area of the Costa Blanca is particularly popular due to the excellent climate and transportation links as well as the range of available water sports including windsurfing, sailing and paragliding that can be enjoyed all year round.”
Local hotels, bar and restaurants are also looking forward to benefitting from winter tourists. Many hostels, hotels, campsites and apart-hotels are already reporting increased occupancy rates based on the same time last year and are predicting that thiswill increase even more over the Christmas and New Year period.