The union representing British Airways Cabin Crew, Ground Staff and Engineers has said it has approached the European Commission to object to the take of Spanish airline Air Europa by British Airways parent International Airlines Group (IAG).
It was reported earlier this week that IAG had a agreed a deal to buy Air Europa for just over €1bn and merge it with one of IAG’s other airline Iberia.
The deal comes as British Airways plans to cut 12,000 jobs from its workforce with the remaining staff rehired on new contracts on lower pay, something that has been dubbed “Fire and Rehire”.
Sharon Graham, Unite executive officer, said: “Unite is questioning why IAG is seeking to fire and rehire the workforce at BA while its parent IAG is ploughing ahead with buying an airline for over €1 billion. There are a number of reasons why this merger of Iberia with Air Europa would appear to be anti-competitive.
“The case team at DG Competition have been very open to us sharing our concerns with them. We are now gathering further detailed evidence from a number of expert sources and discussing the takeover with other parties that could be negatively impacted. We are confident that we have a strong case and we look forward to officially presenting all our evidence when Phase I of the investigation begins.“
The purchase of Air Europa is subject to approval by regulators and Unite says that it is in talks with EU Commissioner for Competition to outline its objections which include a number of serious competition concerns with the potential to scupper the Air Europa deal.
The union said that the concerns include IAG’s increasing domination of the market for flights from Europe to South America and IAG’s dominant position at Madrid-Barajas airport.
There are also concerns that IAG would have a pseudo monopoly on the Spanish market owning the three biggest airlines, Iberia, Vueling and Air Europa.