The airlines claim the strikes restrict the principle of freedom of movement within the EU and that France is breaking the law by not enabling flights passing over the country during the walkouts.
Air traffic controllers in France have downed tools in protest at labor reforms and a reduction of staffing levels being pushed through by the government of President Emmanuel Macron.
Last month, the French Senate confirmed that France alone is responsible for 33 percent of flight delays in Europe, and according to traffic management organization Eurocontrol, more than 16,000 flights have been delayed in the first half of 2018 due to Air Traffic Control (ATC) strikes.
In the statement, Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said: “The right to strike needs to be balanced against freedom of movement,” before adding that flights over France were having a “significant negative impact on Spain’s tourism and economy.”
The airlines claim there is legal precedence to the argument and cite a 1997 complaint by the Spanish to the EU Commission when French farmers prevented Spanish fruit and vegetable exports into the rest of the EU.
In that case European judges ruled that French authorities had failed to ensure the free movement of goods.