December strike action planned by Iberia pilots

Iberia Ground Staff Strike
Pilots plan two days of strikes

If you’re planning to visit Spain, or leave it, during December then take note – delays are likely as the Spanish Union of Airline Pilots, SEPLA, have announced plans for two days of strike action.

The union announced the strike in protest against the creation of the airline Iberia Express, a new low cost domestic carrier. El Mundo reported that the strike is planned for December 18th and 29th.

The new airline will operate part of Iberia’s short and medium haul network from Madrid Barajas and will use a fleet of Airbus A320s. It will serve point-to-point markets as well as providing transfers into Iberia’s long-haul network.

The International Airlines Group (AIG) said “The subsidiary will offer competitive fares from Madrid and is being established to compete effectively in the Spanish domestic and European market,”.

“Over time it will look to develop new markets and destinations and strengthen the Madrid hub, creating new jobs for the Spanish economy.”

Union chief Justo Peral said “These dates have been chosen in order to cause the least possible harm to the Spanish tourist industry and with least disruption to travellers,”.

Up to 10% of the days scheduled flights could be affected by the strike and the union have promised minimum service for the remaining 90%. The Ministry of Transport have put guarantees in place to protect all flights to the islands, Ceuta and Melilla, along with two overseas flights during the strike.

The flights receiving minimal service will be announced by the Development Ministry today, through the Civil Aviation Authority.

Cabin crew and other ground staff voted not to join the pilots in strike action.

SEPLA consider the new airline to be illegal as it “violates the collective agreement” in Annex 10, an agreement between pilots and Iberia created during the merger with British Airways to form the IAG. The clause was to guarantee the collective could operate connecting flights on long-haul routes.

Union members are worried that Iberia Express will only benefit British Airways and will “increase their long haul business at the expense of Iberia.