Spanish national flag carrier Iberia has reorganized its management structure to meet the airline’s challenges due to the global COVID-19 crisis. After having been appointed executive chairman on September 9 following the departure of Álex Cruz to take over at British Airways, Javier Sánchez-Prieto has hit the ground running.
The former Vueling Airlines boss has designed a new management structure to meet the coronavirus’s challenges as the airline moves towards a recovery in demand. The new management team will continue to rely on its most experienced members in dealing with the pandemic and its impact on travel.
The new structure highlights the need for austerity and, as such, has merged four departments into two, headed by industry veterans. The only appointment made from outside Iberia is the “People Unit” head, which now blends labor relations and people development.
When speaking about the new structuring in a press release, the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid graduate said:
“The current situation, sharply affected by the coronavirus pandemic, obliges us to make decisions quickly. The new management team has the experience, the technical expertise, and the determination that we need at this time to meet the challenges we face and to continue to advance towards the recovery of demand.”
The new Management Committee is divided into eight units:
- Designated as the Commercial Department, the former Network and Alliances department will now be one unit
- The Transformation and IT and Customer units will be merged into a single department headed by Gabriel Perdiguero
- The Maintenance Division will be run by Andy best following the resignation of André Wall, who recently left the company
- The newly created “People” department will be headed by Agustín González Hermosilla
- José Antonio Barrionuevo will continue in his role as head of the Strategy and Finance unit, as will Juan Cierco as the Corporate Manager and Rafa Jiménez Hoyos as Production Manager and Ángel Marcos as Airport Services Manager
Madrid braces for a second wave
Based at Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport, Iberia and its employees are bracing for a second wave of the coronavirus in the Spanish capital. Starting from Monday, parts of Madrid will be subjected to lockdown restrictions as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise. Spain now has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, with Madrid once again its worst-hit region. According to statistics from Baltimore’s prestigious John Hopkins University, Spain now has 625,651 cases of the deadly virus, with Madrid having double the national average.
Starting from Monday, September 21, 37 neighborhoods in Madrid will be subjected to lockdown restrictions. Residents in the concerned areas will only be allowed to leave the place where they live to go to work, school, or seek medical assistance. Social gatherings will be limited to no more than six people, public parks will be closed, and all commercial businesses must close by 22:00.
The World Health Organization is worried that as Europe moves closer to winter and people move back indoors that there could be a resurgence of COVID-19. During the first wave of the virus to hit Europe in the spring, Spain was among the hardest-hit countries with over 30,000 people losing their lives.
Iberia’s plan to restructure is a prudent move and necessary as airlines continue to tighten their belts to cut costs. If a second wave of the coronavirus hits Europe as they expect, we could be in for a long recovery.
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