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Spain’s Air Europa is to Sue Pilots Union Over Protracted Strike Action That is Costing Airline Millions of Euros

Spain’s Air Europa is to Sue Pilots Union Over Protracted Strike Action That is Costing Airline Millions of Euros

Air Europa has filed a lawsuit in Spain’s National Court against the SEPLA pilots union over protracted strike action that is costing the beleaguered carrier millions of Euros.

The two sides remain at loggerheads over pay talks that have been dragging on for months with very little progress. Air Europa accuses the pilots union of refusing to have an arbitrator assigned to the dispute because the arbitrator could make a binding ruling in the airline’s favour.

Pay talks with other departments were successfully wrapped up months ago, but there’s been no progress in negotiations with the pilots union for some time. Air Europa says some of the strike action is not only illegal but also “abusive” and “disproportionate”, according to El Confidencial.

The SEPLA union has called its pilots out on a series of strikes since February, and that has continued with the latest wave of walkouts which are taking place between June 19 and July 2.

Air Europa is suing the union for €30 million, which it estimates it has lost as a result of the strike action in lost revenues, compensation payouts, refunds, lost codeshare earnings and customer refunds, as well as reputational damage.

A judge has called the two parties to take part in cancellation on July 2. If that fails, then Air Europa will proceed to trial against the SEPLA union.

Air Europa is Spain’s second-largest homegrown airline after flag carrier Iberia, and it operates a mix of Boeing 737s and 787 Dreamliners. Earlier this year, Madrid-based airline group IAG said it had agreed to buy Air Europa for €400 million.

This is the second time that British Airways owner IAG has attempted to buy Air Europa. The first attempt was in 2019, but the sale was derailed by the pandemic as well as antitrust concerns.

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