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Iberia to Cancel Domestic Flights as Workers Go on Labor Strike

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Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Iberia, the Spanish carrier, said it will cut more than half of its domestic flights as it works with partners to minimize the impact of a strike set to start Monday.

Some 90 percent of long-haul flights, 61 percent of mid-range international flights, and 46 percent of intra-Spain flights will operate, the Madrid-based unit of International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, said today. Plans for operations during further strikes periods announced by unions for next month will be finalized in the coming days, it said.

IAG Chief Executive Officer Willie Walsh wants to shrink Iberia operations by 15 percent and said this week the airline is moving ahead with plans to shed 3,147 positions in a bid to restore the carrier to profitability. Spanish labor rules require unions to provide a minimum level of service.

Iberia said it has made “arrangements with its partners in the Oneworld alliance and another ten airlines to carry Iberia passengers as needed,” the airline said. The contingency plan also relaxed ticketing terms to ease changes.

The airline urged labor groups on Feb. 12 “to settle disputes at the bargaining table rather than involving customers through strikes that can only aggravate the airline’s loss-making situation.”

IAG declined as much as 4.6 pence, or 2 percent, to 220.40 pence, and traded at 224.2 pence as of 1:49 p.m., valuing the company at 4.16 billion pounds ($6.5 billion).

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Wall in London at rwall6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

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