Vueling caused flight chaos at Barcelona airport last week

Catalan authorities considering sanctions against low-cost carrier after four days of cancellations and delays.

The Spanish Public Works Ministry has initiated proceedings against low-cost carrier Vueling after four straight days of flight cancellations and delays.

Vueling low-cost carrier heading for the clouds with its expansion plans

Vueling low-cost carrier heading for the clouds with its expansion plans

The ministry’s Air Safety Agency has told company president Javier Sánchez-Prieto to come in on Monday to explain the reasons for the cancellation of 14 flights, 10 of which departed from or arrived at Barcelona-El Prat airport.

The regional government of Catalonia has also called in Vueling executives and is contemplating sanctions against the Spanish airline, which is owned by IAG – itself the merger of Iberia and British Airways.

The trouble began on Thursday and continued on until Sunday, triggering scenes of chaos at Barcelona-El Prat and leaving at least 8,250 people stranded.

Although Vueling has been trying to be discreet about its recent cancellations and failed to provide an official count, at least 46 flights have been suspended since last Thursday. Others have suffered delays and unexpected stopovers. The company declined to take calls from this newspaper.

At midday on Sunday, its website indicated five cancellations of Barcelona-based flights to Málaga, Moscow, Bilbao, Toulouse, and Paris, with five more inbound flights from Frankfurt, Dubrovnik, Ibiza, Málaga and Paris also suspended. By 10 pm, the Bilbao-Barcelona and Toulouse-Barcelona flights had also been cancelled.

The company has blamed the delays on “operational problems.” But employees said that planning for the summer campaign has been “disastrous.”

Other company sources added that a series of factors has contributed to a perfect storm that could get even bigger throughout the summer.

Read the full story in El Pais