Monday, 11 February 2013

IAG's baggage

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Ground staff and cabin crew at Iberia, Spain's flag carrier, have announced 15 days of strikes this February and March. The walkouts are in response to attempts by International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of Iberia and British Airways (BA), to push through swingeing cuts at the loss-making carrier. Willie Walsh, IAG's chief executive, originally called for 4,500 job cuts plus salary reductions of up to 35% in November. He moderated this slightly last month, suggesting that 3,147 job losses and 23% pay cuts would do the trick. Trade unions rejected the proposal...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Interview: Fernando Pinto, TAP Portugal CEO

Synergy still front-runner for TAP privatisation: Pinto

TAP Portugal chief executive Fernando Pinto says he is confident that Synergy Group, the parent of Avianca-Taca, will resubmit its bid for the Portuguese flag carrier when the privatisation process resumes. But he adds that British Airways parent IAG "might" also rekindle its interest now the Eurozone crisis has abated.

The Portuguese government rejected Synergy's bid in December 2012, citing concerns about financial guarantees. The Brazilian conglomerate had been the sole bidder, after IAG and Lufthansa withdrew their early expressions of interest.

Pinto says that in principle the government had accepted Synergy's offer - comprising a down payment of €35 million ($47.5 million) plus a €315 million investment - but that "fine details on the actual paperwork" had ultimately scuppered the deal. "It was a matter of timing, and a matter of having the correct paperwork," he explains.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Etihad's calculated gamble

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The appointment of Wolfgang Prock-Schauer to the role of chief executive at airberlin last month, though unexpected, was by no means a complete surprise. His predecessor, Hartmut Mehdorn, 70, had been hired on an interim basis in September 2011 – shortly before Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways acquired 29 per cent of the German carrier, becoming its largest stakeholder – and local media reports consistently painted a picture of strained relations with the new Gulf investor.

Even so, Prock-Schauer’s rapid ascension to the top job is yet another sign of seismic changes at airberlin since Etihad chief executive James Hogan invested in the troubled carrier...