Iberia Pilot Union Agrees on Talks with Airline

Unions that represent workers at Iberia, the Spain based airline owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), have agreed to participate in negotiations with IAG for planned job cutbacks.

Previously, IAG had proposed a comprehensive plan to restructure the airline, which includes a decrease of 4,500 jobs, reducing network capacity by 15 percent in 2013, and removing around 25 aircraft from the fleet.

The company has also recently announced that it has acquired support from its workers’ unions to negotiate its Transformation Plan.

The company has released a statement saying, ‘Iberia and unions representing ground staff and cabin crews, comprising 93 percent of the total staff, have agreed to negotiate the terms of the company’s Transformation Plan, aimed at restoring profitability and ensuring the airline’s future.

In today’s meeting Iberia management reiterated its wish to rely chiefly on early retirements to achieve about two-thirds of the staff reduction called for in the plan. It is also prepared to negotiate such formulas as payoff for voluntary resignations, and transfers of employees to different positions and/or different locations.

The two sides agreed to negotiate terms for a five-year period, through 2017. The company stressed that its restructuring plan indicates its commitment to the future of the company, which plans to invest millions in new aircraft, new long-haul seating classes, improvements to its Madrid hub, and in its maintenance, handling, and cargo divisions, amongst others.’

SEPLA, the union to which Iberia’s pilots are affiliated, has reported, ‘Since it is necessary to negotiate a multilateral agreement with all groups of the airline, Iberia has invited SEPLA to negotiate ‘without delay’ a transformation plan to solve their problems of competitiveness.’

Iberia Unions Cancel Strikes

Unions for Iberia, the Spain based airline owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), have called off six days of planned strikes.

The unions of the striking workers called off a six-day strike before Christmas after meeting with the airline management, and on advice of the mediation and arbitration service.

The company has issued a statement saying, ‘No agreement was reached at the meeting, despite Iberia’s undertaking to be flexible in considering the proposals advanced by the unions. However, though the opportunity to move forward was missed, the meeting could be another step towards future negotiations.

Iberia hopes that in the future the possibilities of dialogue and negotiations will be exhausted before any new strikes are called since they inflict great harm on the company and its customers.

Iberia is delighted that its customers may now look forward to travelling without problems, though it regrets the damage already caused to company’s public image and to its business.’

The airline is also commencing negotiations with the unions on its Transformation Plan, and is holding meetings with representatives of ground staff, cabin crews, and pilots on December 13, 2012.

As part of a transformation plan, the airline will be cutting down its routes, and will stay focused on its profitable operations.

The airline will be terminating its services to Athens, Istanbul and Cairo from mid-January, 2013; and long-haul services to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and Havana in Cuba, from April 1, 2012.

In a statement, the airline chief executive officer, Rafael Sanchez-Lozano, said, ‘Iberia has announced a Transformation Plan intended chiefly to restore profitability, ensure our future, and to transform us into an airline that is prepared to meet the challenges being faced by the industry, and, most importantly, to meet the expectations of our customers.’

Iberia Announces Routes Cuts as Part of Transformation Plan

Iberia, the Spain based airline owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), will be cutting down its routes, as part of a transformation plan to stay focused on its profitable operations.

The airline will be terminating its services to Athens, Istanbul and Cairo from mid-January, 2013; and long-haul services to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and Havana in Cuba, from April 1, 2012.

In a statement, the airline chief executive officer, Rafael Sanchez-Lozano, said, ‘Iberia has announced a Transformation Plan intended chiefly to restore profitability, ensure our future, and to transform us into an airline that is prepared to meet the challenges being faced by the industry, and, most importantly, to meet the expectations of our customers.

Our Transformation Plan is, above all, a project oriented towards the future, and it includes major investments to improve our fleet and our offer to the customer. The plan calls for a thorough review of our network to focus on routes that are strategic and that otherwise generate value, a new commercial strategy, and a change in our operations of short and medium-haul flights, all of which will make Iberia more competitive, and more attractive to current and future shareholders, ensuring a future for our employees, and anticipating customers’ needs.’

The airline is planning to increase its services to destinations in Brazil, Mexico, US, Central America, Chile and Ecuador; and will be increasing seats on services to London, Casablanca, Algiers, Dakar, Nouakchott and Malabo.

The airline has lost €262 million in the first nine months of 2012, and total losses of around €1,000 million in the last five years. The transformation plan aims to sort out the structural problems of the airline, and is exceed to be completed by 2015.

Iberia Employees May Go On Strike Before Christmas

Employees of Iberia, the Spain-based airline owned by International Airlines Group (IAG), are planning a strike over Christmas in protest against impending job cuts.

Union officials at the airline have warned of a strike action during Christmas, to protest against an earlier announcement made by IAG for a comprehensive plan to restructure the airline, which includes a reduction of 4,500 jobs, a reduction of network capacity by 15 percent in 2013, and the removal of around 25 aircraft from the fleet.

The strikes are likely to be held on December 14, and between December 17 and December 21, 2012.

A spokesperson for the UGT union, the second largest union in Spain, said, ‘All of the unions are in intense talks to fix dates for action against the plan to dismantle Iberia.’

Earlier, IAG said in a statement, ‘In the short term the transformation will focus on stemming the losses and creating a profitable route network. This will include suspending loss-making routes and frequencies and ensuring there is effective feed for profitable long haul flights.

As well as halting Iberia’s financial decline we will establish a viable business that can grow profitably in the long term. Short and medium haul operations will be transformed to compete effectively with low cost carriers who have successfully established themselves in Iberia’s home market. The plan will see comprehensive productivity improvements and the introduction of permanent salary adjustments to achieve a competitive and flexible cost base.’

In a counter statement, UGT said, ‘UGT, CCOO and SEPLA have indicated to the address of Iberia our absolute rejection of the terms of the proposed plan, reiterating our demand to develop and negotiate a real viability plan and, to achieve them, we are willing to take whatever actions are union accurate.

Said plan is based on the decrease of the company and the segregation of business, loading the failure of management workers

CCOO, UGT and SEPLA are willing to negotiate on the basis of good faith a viable plan for Iberia and return to the land of profitability.’

IAG Announces Iberia Airline Retructure Plan

International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, has announced its plans to restructure Iberia.

The company has announced a comprehensive plan to restructure the airline, which includes the axing of 4,500 jobs, reducing the network capacity by 15 percent in 2013, and removing around 25 aircraft from the fleet.

The company has issued a statement, which says, ‘In the short term the transformation will focus on stemming the losses and creating a profitable route network. This will include suspending loss-making routes and frequencies and ensuring there is effective feed for profitable long haul flights.

As well as halting Iberia’s financial decline we will establish a viable business that can grow profitably in the long term. Short and medium haul operations will be transformed to compete effectively with low cost carriers who have successfully established themselves in Iberia’s home market. The plan will see comprehensive productivity improvements and the introduction of permanent salary adjustments to achieve a competitive and flexible cost base.’

Commenting on the restructuring plan, Rafael Sanchez-Lozano, the chief executive officer of Iberia, said, ‘Iberia is in fight for survival. It is unprofitable in all its markets. We have to take tough decisions now to save the company and return it to profitability. Unless we take radical action to introduce permanent structural change the future for the airline is bleak. However this plan gives us a platform to turn the business around and grow.

The Spanish and European economic crisis has impacted on Iberia, but its problems are systemic and pre-date the country’s current difficulties. The company is burning €1.7 million every day. Iberia has to modernise and adapt to the new competitive environment, as its cost base is significantly higher than its main competitors in Spain and Latin America.

Time is not on our side. We have set a deadline of January 31, 2013 to reach agreement with our trade unions. We enter those negotiations in good faith. If we do not reach consensus we will have to take more radical action which will lead to greater reductions in capacity and jobs.’

Iberia Franchise Partner, Air Nostrum, Cancels Flights to UK

Iberia, a Spain-based airline, has announced that its regional franchise partner, Air Nostrum, is terminating its services from Madrid, in Spain, to Manchester and Glasgow, in the UK.

The airline has confirmed that the service to the routes has been terminated due to lack of demand. While twice-weekly services to Glasgow will terminate on August 30, 2012, flights to Manchester Airport from Madrid are expected to end on September 14, 2012.

The airline is currently operating the route as a regional franchise partner of Iberia, and the recent closure of services is likely to affect the company’s sister company, British Airways (BA), as both are owned by the UK-based parent company, International Airlines Group (IAG). British Airways was hopeful of offering connecting services through UK airports from Latin American cities, and the cancellation of the services is likely to deal a blow, to its intentions of using Iberia’s network to compete with Air France, Lufthansa, KLM and Swiss air on those routes.

With the scrapping of the Glasgow and Madrid service by Air Nostrum, there is presently no service on offer connecting the two cities, although Easyjet, another UK-based airline, does provide flights from Manchester Airport, in the UK, to Madrid, in Spain.

Easyjet had also announced previously that it no longer intends to maintain a base in Madrid, Spain, due to its perceived lack of demand. The airline will be moving its aircraft to other bases in Europe, and will be reorganising its crewmembers that are based out of Madrid in a phased manner.

IAG May 2012 Passenger Traffic Affected by Low Growth in Iberia Airline

International Airlines Group (IAG), the UK-based parent company of British Airways, has reported reduced passenger traffic results for May 2012 from its subsidiary airline, Iberia, while premium traffic from another subsidiary, British Airways, has offset the decline.

The company has reported an increase in overall traffic of 6.6 percent, supported by an increase in premium traffic of 1.7 percent during the month, while economy passengers increased by 7.5 percent in May 2012, from May 2011.

The total number of passengers carried in May 2012 has grown by 9.3 percent, to 4.8 million, from that in May 2011, aided by the acquisition of Bmi airlines.

In a statement the company, said, ‘Trends for June appear stronger than those in May. Underlying market conditions at our London Heathrow hub continue to be firm, particularly in long haul premium. However, commercial performance at our Madrid hub has deteriorated further due to the ongoing effects of the Spanish and wider Eurozone macroeconomic conditions and the after-effects of prolonged industrial action.’

The company has been embroiled in a dispute with Iberia pilots, over the launch of its low cost airline, Iberia Express.

Iberia Express is offering new European routes from Madrid (Spain), to Dublin (Ireland) and Naples (Italy), as well as new domestic flights to Fuerteventura, La Palma and Santiago de Compostela, in Spain. It is offering a total of 14 destinations from Madrid, both on international and domestic routes.

Earlier, Ryanair, an Ireland-based low cost airline, had reported a 5 percent increase in May 2012 passenger traffic; and Easyjet, a UK-based airline, has reported 14.4 percent increase in its May 2012 passenger traffic.