LOW COST AIRLINES HIT

Spanair was the first low-cost airline in the country to announce cutbacks because of the high price of aviation fuel. The company announced last week that it will have to lay off almost a third of its work force – 1,100 people – and ground 15 of its oldest planes, which are the least fuel efficient. The company’s bases in Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Tenerife, Bilbao and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria will be the most affected, as pilots, cabin staff and mechanics are re-located to its main bases in Madrid and Barcelona. The unions in Spanair have asked the company that the redundancies should take the form of early retirement as far as possible. They warned they will start organising demonstrations if they detect any other company interest apart from its future viability. Ryanair has also announced cutbacks because of the increased fuel prices and the suspension of its services in Palma and Valencia as part of a 14% cutback in flights. Flights to another five Spanish destinations are also set to be suspended between November 4th and December 19th. Ryanair Chairman, Michael O’Leary, said that airport charges and the massive increase facing the company in fuel prices made it more profitable for Ryanair to leave planes on the ground during the time.

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