Iberia and Vueling confirmed this morning that they have received a combined €1 billion bail-out from the Spanish Government.
Sister companies of British Airways inside the IAG umbrella, Iberia received €750 million whilst Vueling received €260 million.
These are five year soft loans. Whilst the money came from commercial banks, 70% of the loans have been guaranteed by the Spanish Government which means that the repayment risk is substantially reduced. This allows the money to be lent at a lower interest rate than would otherwise have been required.
The money is not allowed to be passed up the chain to other IAG airlines and must be used exclusively for the benefit of Iberia and Vueling. I would imagine that it cannot be used to fund the €1 billion acquisition of Air Europa, which has unsurprisingly gone very quiet in recent weeks.
You can see the full announcement on the IAG website here.
This structure is different to the one that easyJet and Hungary’s Wizz Air have used to receive bail-outs from the UK Government, which involved the Bank of England directly buying new bonds issued by the airlines. See our articles here on the easyJet £600m bail-out loan and here for the Wizz Air £300m (TBC) bail-out loan.
Didn’t British Airways say it wouldn’t access soft Government loans?
In the announcement on Tuesday, BA’s CEO Alex Cruz said that part of the reason that British Airways had decided to make 12,000 employees redundant was that it was not accepting Government money.
The letter to employees said:
There is no Government bailout standing by for BA and we cannot expect the taxpayer to offset salaries indefinitely.
Except, of course, there IS a Government bailout standing by for BA if it wants one – the same one that easyJet and Wizz Air have accessed. British Airways had investment grade commercial debt in issue on 1st March 2020 which is the key requirement.
What wasn’t clear at the time was why Iberia and Vueling had not announced redundancies. Why was British Airways cutting 25% of its staff whilst the Spanish subsidiaries were cutting no one?
Now we know. It is very likely that the terms of these Spanish Government loans including protections for employee rights.
It is quite clear that the IAG board has no problem with its subsidiaries taking soft Government bail-out loans. A cynic might suggest that the only reason that British Airways has refused to access the Covid Corporate Finance Facility is to give it cover to pursue its redundancy programme, which itself now appears to be cover for finally ridding itself of high-paid legacy cabin crew.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (September 2022)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.