UPDATE 1-Iberia says needs to save a third on labour costs
* Parent IAG wants to cut 4,500 jobs
* Targets 300 mln euro op profit in 2015
* Foresees 300 mln euro loss this year
By Robert Hetz
MADRID, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Spain's flagship airline Iberia , battling low-cost rivals, high-speed trains and deep recession at home, said on Tuesday it needed to cut labour costs by a third to become competitive.
Owner International Airlines Group announced earlier this month it would slash 4,500 jobs at Iberia, almost a quarter of its workforce.
"Our labour costs are around 1.3 billion euros ($1.7 billion) per year and they have to come down by around 450 million euros," said Chief Executive Officer Rafael Sanchez Lozano.
Iberia aims to achieve operating profit of 300 million euros in 2015, Sanchez said, and will likely report a loss of around 300 million euros in 2012.
IAG, which was formed by the 2011 merger of British Airways and Iberia, said earlier this month it hoped a restructuring plan for the Spanish airline would improve profit by at least 600 million euros in the next three years.
In addition to job cuts, IAG said it would cut network capacity by 15 percent in 2013, focusing on profitable routes and downsizing its fleet by 25 aircraft.
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