Madrid.— In advance of the Iberia pilots' strike planned for 18th and 29th December, Central Government's Ministry of Public Works gave reassurances yesterday that the minimum services to be agreed next Monday will guarantee that Iberia flights will be operating as normal in the Balearic and Canary Islands and in the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa.

Iberia pilots are striking in protest at the creation of a low cost airline “Iberia Express” and at the fact that pressure from Iberia to fly more hours is increasing.

Once the agreement over minimum services is finalised next Monday, it will mean that pre-Christmas and pre-New Year flights heading in and out of the Balearics will be saved from industrial action. It would appear that the protest will have just the bare minimum affect on Palma, Minorca and Ibiza aiports.

Ibieria will also guarantee two trans-Atlantic flights and 50 percent of the shuttle services for cities that are at a distance of around 500 kilometres apart from one another.

Meanwhile, totally unfazed by Iberia's industrial action, lowcost airline Ryanair has announced that it is setting up a new connection between Ibiza and Marseilles which will come into operation on 26th March, with two flights a week.

Ryanair's Director for Spanish affairs Luis Fernandez Mellado said that it is a major step to open up Ibiza to the French market.

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