The Spanish government has rejected a claim by flagship Iberia that the airline is in full compliance with safety rules, saying that several investigations into its safety record remained open. In an embarrassing public exchange of words, Spain's Development Ministry “denied” Iberia's claim that Spain's Civil Aviation authorities had given it full marks after exhaustive safety inspections. Spain's government -which still holds a controlling “golden share” in the privatised company said in a statement late on Monday that several probes remained open, including one into the emergency landing of a Boeing 747 in New York last month. In the case of the emergency landing, when a motor caught fire, the ministry said it had yet to be determined if emergency ramps were deployed properly. The ministry also said Civil Aviation was still probing the diversion of an Airbus A-320 to the northeastern Spanish town of Reus because of bad weather conditions and an incident on Saturday when eight tyres of an A-340*s landing gear burst upon landing at Madrid's Barajas airport. In its defence, an Iberia spokeswoman yesterday said the investigations into three recent incidents were routine. The exchange of words marked the second time in 14 months that the ministry, has had a public spat with the flagship airline. After Iberia suspended flights last July amid a labour dispute with pilot's union SEPLA, the ministry waded in to order the airline to operate.

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