12/03/2010 02:31 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Madrid Airport Closed Suddenly Due To Traffic Controller Strike

A sudden walkout by air traffic controllers on Friday afternoon has halted all air travel in Madrid and along the Balearic Islands at the start of what is a holiday weekend in Spain, according to CNN.

Hundreds of flights were delayed and thousands were stranded in Madrid, Palma de Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza. The country's airport operator, AENA, told the BBC that it was forced to close airspace after workers refused to work or did not show up for work at all.

"The air traffic controllers are massively abandoning their posts," an AENA spokeswoman told CNN. Apparently an air traffic controller shift change was due to happen late Friday and AENA is hopeful the next batch of controllers will show up to work.