Over the weekend you may have seen something on the news about a little airline called Spanair.
This was an airline started in the 80’s by Scandinavian carrier SAS as a charter airline offering connections to the Balearic islands from the mainland.
Over the weekend the airline landed it’s last flight and suspended its operations without warning anyone, including staff. Around 23,000 passengers were left stranded or trying to reschedule flights.
Spanair were already controversial as, since 2009, they had only managed to stay afloat with the help of some €150 million of subsidies from the Catalan authorities. This had caused other airlines, quite rightly, to question the legality of the payments and there was already an antitrust decision pending by the European Commission.
The Spanish government now intend to fine the airline up to €9 million for the abrupt closure, says Ana Pastor, the Spanish development minister.
Surely if Spanair had €9 million they wouldn’t be closing? Maybe a better use of your time Ms. Pastor, would be to look at the reasons for the closure and try to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to other struggling carriers.
Maybe the fine could be paid by Mr Francisco Luzón, executive director of Santander (Americas division).
Christmas seems to have come early for him as he is stepping down after 15 years and will be taking a generous €56 million retirement package with him.
Santander say the Americas contributed €4.8bn to the banks total profits in 2010, and therefore the retirement package is in line with achievements.
A quarter of Spanish people are out of work. Half of young people are out of work. Is it right for one man to receive such a payment when so many others in Spain are on the poverty line?
This isn’t the first Spanish bank to make such an award. When José Ignacio Goirigolzarri retired early from Santander rival BBVA, his €3m annual pension was called an “obscenity” by a member of parliament.
I think the UK has had the most public outcry over executive pay and pension awards but this is sure to rattle the Spanish and I’m sure there will be a backlash of some sort.