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Iberia’s future remains “critical” and the airline could disappear, according to the boss of parent company IAG.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh gave the latest warning about the Spanish carrier’s future during the company’s annual general meeting.
Iberia, which has been losing nearly €1 million per day over the last year, is undergoing a major restructuring process including capacity and aircraft cuts, salary reductions and 3,300 job losses.
Walsh said: “There are many good people at Iberia and we know that change is hard, especially in the current economic environment, but I cannot stress strongly enough that the situation is critical and none of us want to see Iberia disappear.
“However, that still remains a risk unless all parts of the airline work together to transform Iberia.”
As part of the restructure, IAG has signed agreements with unions representing 93 per cent of Iberia’s workforce following the appointment of a mediator. This has been followed by a further 4 per cent drop in salaries from April.
“This is an important first step towards restructuring Iberia – but it is only a first step and Iberia needs to do more,” said Walsh.
“It is vital that everyone within the company understands that they have to make sacrifices to help save Iberia, their jobs and the benefits that the airline can bring to Spain, its economy and tourism industry.”
Sister airline British Airways made an operating profit of €347 million in the last financial year despite €98 million of trading losses from the takeover of Bmi.
Walsh added: “The next challenge is to turn former Bmi losses into profit while maximising value from the 42 daily Heathrow slots that we acquired as part of the deal.
“Flights to Seoul started last December and services to Chengdu in China will commence this September. About one third of the additional slots will be used to launch new long-haul routes, mainly to Asia, while the remainder will enable British Airways to re-enforce its short-haul network.”