Spain's Iberia says strike will ground 415 flights next week
MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish flag carrier Iberia will cancel 40 percent of its scheduled flights when workers go on strike between February 18 and February 22 to protest against job cuts, the company said on Thursday.
The loss-making airline said that 415 of the 1,060 flights scheduled over the five days would be grounded, though 90 percent of long-distance flights will take off. Domestic flights will be most affected, with almost half cancelled.
Labour unions are also planning strikes from March 4 to March 8 and from March 18 to March 22.
Sabadell Bolsa analysts said that the 15 days of strike action could cost Iberia between 50 million euros and 100 million euros.
International Airlines Group, comprising Iberia and a profitable British Airways, has negotiated with workers for months over a restructuring of the Spanish airline, which posted a 262 million euro operating loss in the nine months to September 30, 2012.
Iberia said that it would reduce job cuts to 3,807, lower than the initial 4,500, but unions decided to press ahead with strike action.
Ground staff, including baggage handlers, will participate in the strikes, meaning that other airlines could be affected by the action.
"It's possible that other companies could make claims if their operations are affected during the strike," one airline industry source said. (Reporting by Robert Hetz; Writing by Clare Kane; Editing by David Goodman)
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