Iberia to reassess targets amid weakening airline backdrop


MADRID – Iberia Lineas Aereas de Espana SA’s, Chairman Fernando Conte said Thursday the company is considering a revision of its targets for 2009-2011 amid a deteriorating market for Spanish airlines.

“We are bringing forward the date to study the worsening backdrop…to identify the best strategies to overcome this critical period,” Conte told reporters before the company’s annual general meeting.

Conte also said the company’s revenue for 2008 is largely dependent on how serious the current Spanish economic slowdown is. He added high fuel prices would also make 2008 a difficult year for Spanish airlines.

Iberia is Spain’s largest airline, by market capitalization and market share, and is leading consolidation in Spain’s low cost sector. Iberia is currently a leading shareholder in low cost company Clickair that is in merger talks with rival Vueling Airlines SA (VLG.MC).

Conte said Iberia could have a 40% stake in a potential merger of the two carriers.

In Iberia’s previous 2006-2008 Director Plan, the company cut costs to save EUR590 million in order to better compete with low cost rivals.