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Iberia Announces Creation of New Company to Secure Future Amid Airport Licensing Changes

Iberia Announces Creation of New Company to Secure Future Amid Airport Licensing Changes

On 26 September 2023, AENA finalised the process to grand licenses at all the airports in the network. Iberia lost its status as operating agent at the airports of Bilbao, Málaga, Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Barcelona, Las Palmas, and Tenerife Sur, and kept it at the rest of the airports where it had been providing services.

The handling business and the thousands of people who are part of its ground handling services are key for Iberia. Given the way the business works, its margins are narrow, so it is necessary to operate with a large volume that can only be achieved in a sustainable manner by providing services to third-party companies.

To attract business from third parties, the network effect is essential. Without it, the chances of retaining customers are greatly reduced. So, in other words, the problem does not lie solely and exclusively on the eight airports where Iberia does not have a license to operate, but on all the airports in the network. The business needs volume for its survival.

For this reason, the company continued to examine possible alternatives, aware of its responsibilities,  with the aim of finding a way to offer its services at all airports and, beyond that, to find solutions that allow the development of the activity both nationally and internationally, ensuring the viability and development of the business, and the long-term future of its staff through this new company.

Iberia has unquestionably opted to turn adversity into opportunity, to once again look to the future, in order to maintain activity and employment, and also generate new opportunities.


Iberia’s Proposal:

The creation of a new company, 100% owned by the IAG group with an Iberia majority.
Once created, all workers at all the work centres of the Airport Services Directorate would be transferred to the new company on the basis of Article 44 of the Workers’ Statute.
All Iberia workers continue to benefit from the Iberia Labour Agreement.
All workers’ rights will remain under the same conditions, without any changes.
In order to provide peace of mind to the company’s current employees, the career progression and seniority systems of Iberia employees are protected for life so that they maintain the same expectations they have today. Not a single one of the conditions of Iberia workers is altered.
The viability plan developed for this company contemplates separation measures for 1,727 people until December 31 2026, in two forms:

(i)  Incentivised leave: Workers under 56 years of age at the time of termination of the contract may benefit from this system.

(ii)  Early retirement: Workers who are 56 years of age or older at the time of termination of the employment contract may benefit from this system. From the moment of termination of the employment contract and until reaching the age of 65, the company will pay a supplement in 12 annual payments that will vary depending on the age at which such measure is applied to the regulatory salary, i.e., on the total gross annual pay.

The new company will have a new brand and real and viable possibilities to develop and expand.
The project will include a Vocational Training Centre of Excellence for handling professionals at the La Muñoza headquarters, next to the Adolfo Suárez-Madrid Barajas airport.
The new company will have ambitious objectives for domestic growth and a vocation for international development, with its sights set especially on Europe and Latin America.
Iberia understands the uncertainty that workers are experiencing; however, the company reiterates that, in order to offer a future to both licensed and unlicensed airport workers, it is necessary for everyone to remain united in a single company. This is an opportunity to forge a solid future and become a leading international handling operator. The new company is the vehicle to make the business viable, without any of the rights of Iberia workers being affected.