IAG yesterday stepped up efforts to fix its beleaguered Spanish business, announcing the departure of Iberia’s chief executive and increasing its bid for budget carrier Vueling by almost a third.
IAG, which also owns British Airways, said Iberia chief executive Rafael Sanchez-Lozano is stepping down immediately “by mutual agreement”, following months of strikes and stubborn losses at the airline.
Sanchez-Lozano, who had led the airline since 2009, will be replaced by Luis Gallego, boss of budget carrier Iberia Express, a major source of tension with Iberia workers.
IAG also revealed that it had hiked its offer for Barcelona-based Vueling from €7 (£5.90) to €9.25 a share. The airline already holds a 45.85 per cent stake, but Vueling rejected its previous offer earlier this month.
Acquiring Vueling would help IAG boost its short-haul business and halt losses in Spain in the face of tough competition from cheaper operators and a deep economic crisis.
London-listed shares in IAG closed 2.27 per cent lower at 250.1p yesterday.