Iberia cancels 150 flights as strikes begin

 
City A.M. Reporter
PILOT STRIKES at British Airways’ Spanish sister Iberia grounded 150 flights across Europe yesterday, in the first phase of industrial action that could cause travel misery during the peak summer season.

Staff walked out yesterday in the first of 30 one-day strikes to protest against the start-up of low-cost carrier Iberia Express, owned by International Airlines Group, which also controls BA.

Iberia estimates the strikes will cause damages of €3m (£2.47m) per day.

Pilots union SEPLA says Iberia Express is a threat to jobs and conditions, but the company says it is vital to increasing profitability.

The pilots, who plan to strike every Monday and Friday until July, say Iberia’s new low-cost service contravenes deals struck when Iberia and British Airways merged in January 2011.

Last week, Iberia petitioned a court to ban strikes by pilots and cabin crew planned over the next few months and to seek compensation for 12 days of strikes held between December and March.

The strikes were briefly called off in March and pilots went into talks with the company, but negotiations broke down.

No one at Iberia was available for comment.