Iberia Airlines cancels 400 flights on October 26-27, 2009, owing to planned strike by flight attendants

Sunday, October 25, 2009, 6:22 by Jose Philip

Iberia Airlines, the flag-carrier airline of Spain, has canceled about 400 flights scheduled for October 26 and 27, 2009, in view of the strike planned by the flight attendants of the airline.The flights that have been canceled are mainly those from Madrid to the other cities of Spain, such as Barcelona, Valencia, Pais Basco, Andalucia, Galicia and Asturias.

The other routes affected by the planned strike by the cabin crew of Iberia Airlines includes the flights from Madrid to several key destinations in Europe – including London, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Brussels and Lisbon.

Those customers who are due on flights, which start from the numbers IB8000, IB5000 or IB7000 – operated by Air Nostrum, Iberia Airlines’ regional carrier – will be able to fly, media reports quoted the company’s sources as saying.

In a press release posted on its website, Iberia Airlines, based in Madrid, Spain, also gives instructions to its customers holding tickets for the flights which have been affected.

According to the carrier, it canceled the flights because they will not be “covered by the minimum services requirement set by the aviation authorities of Spain.”

Iberia also said that it will make fares “more flexible” so that customers who have planned to travel on the days of the strike can make the necessary changes.

The strike was called by the labor unions SITCPLA and CTA because of what they termed as the “repeated refusals” of the Iberia management to sign a “collective bargaining agreement.” The agreement includes a salary rise for those employees whose pay has been frozen for the last 4 years.

The strike call – which the unions said will be repeated on November 10-11, 2009 – coincides with Iberia Airlines’ announcement of mandatory early retirements, a wage freeze, and the launch of what the carrier describes as a ‘Director Plan’ meant to alleviate the adverse effects of the drop in demand and revenues.

A spokesman of Iberia alleged that the unions were planning the strike even as negotiations are being “kept open” since the company wants to negotiate a long-term pact and not an agreement for only 4 months.

For more information on the flight cancellations, Iberia Airlines has requested its customers to contact the company with which they booked flights.