IAG, the owners of Iberia and British Airways, have announced that in order to guarantee the survival of Iberia they will have to fire 4,500 people, or about a fourth of its workforce.
The announcement comes a day after IAG announced a 113 million euro bid for Vueling, the low cost Spanish airline.
Iberia will cut its capacity by 15%, after IAG posted a loss of 39 million euros in the first nine months of the year, after earning 338 million euros in the same period last year. Willie Walsh said that Iberia is in a fight for its life, and is currently dragging down the whole of IAG.
Willie’s plan – to buy Iberia in order to give BA access to the all important South American market via Madrid – was a cunning one, but relied entirely upon duping the Spanish unions into thinking he wouldn’t do what everyone knew he had to do – drastically slim down the bloated ex-flag carrier.
The timing of the two announcements seems designed to stir up nationalist sentiments in Spain, but he’s probably more worried about the money men back in London than the local Spanish unions. His plan is working – IAG’s share price on the London stock market continues stable, whilst the local unions appear to be more interested in using the cuts to hammer the PP ahead of the general strike on the 14th.
And meanwhile, O’Leary continues in his crusade to remove seatbelts from his Ryanair planes (Seatbelts on planes are pointless, says Ryanair boss). He might think they’re pointless, but I bet those passengers of his onboard those planes that ran out of fuel and had to make emergency landings a couple of months ago were damned glad to have them!