Vueling passengers in Spain
Around 22 flights to and from London Heathrow and Madrid have been cancelled Vueling/Reuters

A Spanish airline has confirmed it has been forced to cancel hundreds of routes this week. Iberia, headquartered in Madrid, has revealed it would have to cancel around 461 flights this week due to a strike across the country.

The strike days, between Jan. 5 and Jan. 8, are coinciding with Spain's busy Three Kings holiday and are expected to affect over 45,000 passengers, as per reports in the media.

While 51 per cent of the affected flights are going to be domestic within Spain, the other 49 per cent will be flights within Europe.

Iberia is one of the airlines that connects Spain to the UK, with their flights operating from London Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham, to destinations such as Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Malaga and Majorca.

As of now, around 22 flights to and from London Heathrow and Madrid have been cancelled due to the strikes in Spain.

This includes the following flights:

January 5 - IB3163, IB3164, IB3170, IB3176, IB3177, IB3179

January 6 - IB3163, IB3164, IB3170, IB3171, IB3172, IB3179

January 7 - IB3160, IB3163, IB3169m IB3170, IB3176, IB3177

January 8 - IB3160, IB3164, IB3169, IB3179

Iberia mentioned it can operate 75 per cent of its schedule during the strike, including nearly all long-haul flights.

"We are working to minimise the impact of this disruption, which will lead to the cancellation of 461 flights: 270 operated by Iberia, 64 by Iberia Express, and 127 by Air Nostrum," the airline said on the website.

The Spanish airline has also ensured that passengers who have been affected by these cancellations can request a date change for their flights or receive a full refund. Meanwhile, customers whose flights are not directly affected by the strike can change the date of their trip or request a voucher.

Iberia has urged travellers, who still have a flight going ahead, to check in online and arrive earlier than usual to avoid the chaos at the airports. The airline company has also recommended its customers to check the status of their flight in arrivals and departures before they go to the airport.

Thousands of flights have been cancelled to and from France as well this year. It was reported last year that 16,500 flights to and from France would be cancelled due to ongoing Air Traffic Control (ATC) upgrades.

ATC in France is set to undergo a massive renovation of its systems, with several of those remaining unchanged since the 1970s - sometimes still using paper strips to represent incoming planes.

Around €1 billion is being invested in improving France's air traffic control so that it will be able to deal with more flights and operate more efficiently. To avoid being overloaded during the time of the renovation, the ATC has confirmed that thousands of flights will have to be cancelled.