Iberia To Cancel 200 Flights A Day During Strike

July 6, 2006

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Spanish flag carrier Iberia said on Thursday it would cancel 200 flights a day as a result of a pilots' strike set for next week in protest at the airline's plan to launch a low-cost carrier.

Iberia is negotiating with its Sepla pilots union to try to head off the July 10-16 stoppage called to protest against feared job cuts once the Catair low-cost carrier starts in the autumn.

Iberia said it would maintain services to the Canary and Balearic Islands, as well as all flights to Africa and the Middle East.

Iberia will continue running the majority of long-distance flights and around half its European and Iberian peninsula flights, the company said.

The airline will run more than 77 percent of flights between Madrid and Barcelona.

Sepla says the company's low-cost airline project will swallow up some of Iberia's routes and threatens up to 350 jobs.

Iberia says Catair is no threat to its nearly 2,000 pilots and that it does not plan to fire staff.

The company has proposed paying new pilots less and using cost savings to double the size of its fleet serving Latin America.

(Reuters)