Iberia reports little disruption in Spanish pilots' strike

29th December 2011, Comments 0 comments

Spain's flag carrier Iberia reported little disruption Thursday from a one-day pilots' strike expected to ground more than one-third of its flights.

Iberia pilots called the one-day strike over the airline's launch of a new offshoot, budget carrier Iberia Express, which they fear will lead to lower salaries for newly hired pilots.

The airline said it was cancelling 118 of the 329 scheduled flights -- stopping 10 percent of long-haul flights, 38 percent of medium-range flights, and 43 percent of domestic flights.

An Iberia spokeswoman said it was able to reseat all of the estimated 10,000 affected passengers. "We have not seen any incidents so far," the spokeswoman said.

It was the second one-day strike called over the dispute, after the airline pilots' union SEPLA's previous action on December 18, which also led to the cancellation of about one-third of the flights.

The new budget carrier will handle short- and medium-haul flights, which have been facing heavy competition from other low-cost carriers and Spain's high-speed trains.

Pilots fear the salaries to be offered by the new airline will be too low and a SEPLA union spokeswoman said further industrial action may follow if talks with management fail to resolve the dispute.

Iberia says the decision to launch the new carrier is up to management and is "non-negotiable".

© 2011 AFP

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