Iberia told to keep 50 percent service during strike days

Pilots' union will appeal restriction on impact caused by two days of planned stoppages

Spanish civil aviation officials will order Iberia that it must not cut any of its flights to and from the Balearic and Canary Islands during the two-day strike later his month by the carrier's pilots' union Sepla.

Civil aviation director Manuel Ameijeiras is expected to make public on Monday a resolution that orders Iberia to fly at least 50 percent of its routes during the strike dates, set for December 18 and 29. Among the government's orders, Iberia should keep half of its routes to Spanish cities and Europe as well as 25 percent of the flights that are less than 500 kilometers, or less than five hours, during the pilots' two walk-out days. Iberia will also have to guarantee at least one one-way trans-Atlantic flight to a dozen or so destinations where the carrier normally has more than one daily service. The agency was reportedly under "a lot of pressure" to maintain that Iberia was not allowed to suspend any of its trans-Atlantic flights.

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Iberia pilots to strike during holiday season

"We have to guarantee a passenger's right to fly but also at the same time guarantee the right to go on strike," he said.

Sepla sources say that they will appeal the civil aviation's requirements once they are announced on Monday.

Pilots are striking to protest Iberia's plans to form a low-cost airline, Iberia Express.

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