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Aviation

Spain's Iberia announces massive job cuts

Spanish airline Iberia is bracing for layoffs affecting thousands of workers. The carrier, which is part of the International Airlines Group (IAG), has been logging heavy losses over the past nine months.

Spanish carrier Iberia will cut 4,500 jobs over the next three years. The measure is part of a restructuring plan following the airline's merger with British Airways, joint owner International Airlines Group (IAG) announced on Friday.

The group said the job cull would reduce Iberia's current workforce by 25 percent, but would be required to safeguard at least 15,500 posts at the Spanish airline.

IAG added Iberia would also have to dispose of a quarter of its fleet and reduce network capacities by 15 percent.

Tough reforms ahead

The airline group set a January 31 deadline for trade unions to agree to the restructuring plan. IAG warned that if no agreement was reached even deeper cuts would be needed, leading to a more radical reduction in Iberia's operations.

The announcement came on the heels of a third-quarter earnings report which indicated that the Spanish carrier had posted losses for nine months in a row. For the three months to September, IAG was able to log a net profit of 237 million euros ($302 million), but for the whole of the year Iberia's losses ate up most of the profits from British Airways.

IAG acknowledged that the debt crisis in Spain and other eurozone nations had been a major headache for Iberia as of late, but added that the current structural problems of the carrier were home-made and had not been tackled early enough. Currently, Iberia posts a loss of 1.7 million euros per day.

hg/hc (dpa, AP, AFP)