Sources from Aena confirmed to ElDiario.es that they have increased the maximum handling prices that the operators will be able to offer during the current tender processes, which results are expected for March and July.
The original terms and conditions of the tender established a maximum price of 1,050 Euros for the handling services given to an Airbus 320 in the smaller 22 airports of the Aena’s net. After several conversations with Iberia, this maximum price has been increased to 1,212 Euros – 14.4% higher. In the other 21 airports the expected maximum price is up to 35% higher. According to this information Aena requested the correspondent advice from its legal department before making these changes.
Brussels keeps an eye on the process
The low cost airlines put strong pressure on Aena to offer cheaper and cheaper prices since otherwise they leave the expensive airports. For this reason they have warned the European authorities for them to analyse whether this increase, recognised by Aena, means special treatment to Iberia.
Brussels would have contacted with Aena to remind that the European regulation entails open tenders and they might open files if they find special treatments.
The problem in Iberia
The handling tender’s final breakthrough is waiting for Iberia to definitely confirm whether or not they will place bids for licenses and for which airports these would be.
The problem is in the ongoing negotiations between Iberia and its 7,076 handling employees. Iberia aims to achieve a big cost reduction which lets them “put in offers with guarantees of success and avoid economic loss”. In that scenario, the maximum handling prices that had been set were a barrier to the Iberia’s entrance which has now been reduced.
The productivity measures proposed by Iberia suppose salary cuts up to 11% and increasing the working days per year from 214 to 234. All unions but UGT reluctantly accept but UGT requests guarantees of employment for when the agreements expire in 2018 as well as a commitment by Iberia to keep the handling division.
While the handling workers struggle to reach an agreement, the other groups in the company are close to a deal. All 1,303 pilots are currently defining the agreement on the most difficult items: Iberia Express, retirements and new incorporations. 3,340 cabin crew members have accepted new tasks apart from the in-flight rubbish collection and are ready to sign too.
Is Iberia really interested in the handling tender?
Meanwhile, ActualidadAeroespacial.com informs that UGT has published a communiqué where they wonder if Iberia are going “towards a new failure in the negotiations”.
It is Iberia’s responsibility to reach agreements with the unions, give employment guarantees and place bids in the tenders with the aim of winning the licenses.
It is imperative that the Iberia’s board defend the interests of the company with a real plan that allows the airline to get benefits for its shareholders and maintain the integrity of the company and its business, assuring its workers employment.
UGT has reiterated its willingness to find solutions which help Iberia to be awarded the handling licenses for every airport. Even accepting agreed solutions on the unprofitable airports.
UGT is of the view that IAG is not interested in the handling branch of Iberia.