Iberia recruits solely for low-cost Iberia Express in 2012

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Iberia plans to recruit new flight and cabin crew members solely for its new low-cost subsidiary Iberia Express during 2012. The mainline carrier will gradually switch to focus exclusively on long-haul routes using its existing staff.

The carrier wants to take on around 500 employees, including pilots, cabin crew, commercial and administrative staff, over the next three months to start operations at Iberia Express with four Airbus A320s at the end of March.

The low-cost subsidiary will gradually take over short- and medium-haul flights from the mainline carrier.

Its fleet is to grow to 13 aircraft by the end of 2012 and 40 aircraft by 2015, an Iberia spokesman said to Flightglobal Pro.

Meanwhile, Iberia's mainline division will increasingly concentrate on long-haul routes alone. Retiring flight and cabin crew members will not be replaced and existing A320-family crews will be gradually moved to the long-haul fleet.

The spokesman said that remuneration terms for the approximately 1,500 pilots and 4,000 cabin crew members at the mainline operation will not change. However, all recruitment for operational positions in 2012 will be exclusively for Iberia Express, he added.

While the low-cost carrier will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iberia Group, it will be a stand alone company with its own management team.

Luis Gallego, currently chief operating officer at Barcelona-based low-cost carrier Vueling, in which Iberia holds a 45% stake, has been appointed as chief executive.