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Iberia to cut 4,500 jobs under IAG restructuring plan

British Airways-owner IAG has announced 4,500 job cuts at Iberia as part of a widely anticipated restructuring of the Spanish carrier.

IAG confirmed in a statement on 9 November that Iberia will downsize its fleet by 25 aircraft and reduce its network by 15%. The airline will be shedding five long haul and 20 short haul aircraft, in order to focus on the most profitable routes. The statement explained the reduction of 4,500 jobs is to safeguard around 15,500 posts across the airline which ‘is in line with capacity cuts and improved productivity across the airline’. It is currently estimated that as many as 500 pilot jobs will be cut.

Spanish subsidiary’s chief executive, Rafael Sanchez-Lozano, said, “Iberia is in a fight for survival. It is unprofitable in all its markets.

“Unless we take radical action to introduce permanent structural change, the future for the airline is bleak.”

Iberia has also proposed a 35% cut in pilots’ pay. Representatives from the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) offered support to pilots at risk of losing their jobs or forced pay cuts. Jim McAuslan, General Secretary of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), commented, ‘We are dismayed by the sheer scale of the proposed job losses and pay cuts announced today by Iberia. In our view, the proposed measures are highly disproportionate and likely to result in further, deeply damaging industrial disputes in the Spanish flag carrier. It seems that Iberia has spent so much time outsourcing its flying to subsidiary airlines and franchise operators that it is now being forced to turn against its own core operation in Madrid.’

BALPA further called on Iberia and IAG management to reconsider their proposals and redouble their efforts to reach an agreement with Spanish Airline Pilots’ Union, SEPLA. A deadline of January 31, 2013 has been set for Iberia and IAG to reach agreement with the unions which are challenging these job losses.