British Airways’ owner has been accused of a “two-faced” approach to its operation after a €1 billion bailout was agreed for Spanish sister carriers Iberia and Vueling.

The Unite union hit out as it emerged that of loans for the two airlines had been negotiated from the Spanish government to offset the impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The deal was revealed by International Airlines Group on Friday, just days after BA announced 12,000 job cuts, leading to the potential closure of Gatwick operations.

IAG said syndicated financing agreements for €750 million and €260 million had been signed for Iberia and low cost carrier Vueling respectively.

“The arrangement is within the legal framework set up by the Spanish government to mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19,” IAG confirmed.

But Unite national officer for aviation, Oliver Richardson, said: “The fact that Iberian airlines is seeking support from the Spanish government should be welcomed and is a common sense approach to preserving jobs and services, following the immense damage the Covid-19 pandemic has caused to the aviation sector.

“What is concerning is that the parent company IAG is not seeking a similar solution for British Airways.

“This is another gross insult to the UK workforce that BA plans to send to the dole.

“We appeal to IAG to give our members the same support as they are giving to their Spanish employees.

“Rather than seeking to preserve jobs and workers’ terms and conditions and act for the good of the UK aviation sector, British Airways is guilty of an act of smash and grab opportunism.

“This is designed to boost its profits in the future and to try to force other operators out of the UK aviation sector,” he claimed.

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