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Spanish airline says 1,200 flights to be grounded

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Sat, Feb 16, 2013 05:30 hrs

Madrid, Feb 16 (IANS/EFE) Spanish airline Iberia announced that more than 1,200 flights will be grounded next week, when workers are scheduled to go on strike to protest a restructuring plan that includes 3,807 layoffs.

A total of 415, or 39 percent, of Iberia's 1,062 scheduled flights are to be grounded, while its subsidiaries - Vueling, Air Nostrum and Iberia Express - will cancel a combined total of more than 800 flights due to a loss of ground assistance normally provided by the Iberia Airport Services division.

Unions representing ground staff and cabin crew have announced plans for strikes on 15 days to protest the restructuring package, which includes plans to eliminate 3,807 jobs, or 19 percent of Iberia's workforce, this year.

The first five days of strikes are to take place next week and the rest between March 4-8 and March 18-22.

Of the planned Iberia cancellations, 19 correspond to long-haul flights, 190 to medium-haul flights and 206 to short-range domestic routes.

A total of 354 Vueling, 357 Air Nostrum and 96 Iberia Express flights also will be grounded next week.

Iberia Tuesday presented details of a layoff plan first announced last year and urged labor unions to call off the scheduled strikes.

"This is part of Iberia's transformation plan to introduce permanent structural changes across the airline to stem its losses enabling it to grow profitably in the future," International Airlines Group, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia, said in a statement.

Iberia lost more than 850 million euros ($1.14 billion) between 2008 and September 2012.

--IANS/EFE

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