MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish tourism group Globalia will seek to reach an alternative furlough agreement with its unions should the Spanish government not extend its COVID furlough programme, which will expire at the end of this month, a spokesperson for the company said.

Globalia – which owns airline Air Europa – will propose furloughs for organisational and productive reasons to around 9,000 employees across the group’s various companies, including Be Live Hotels and handling firm Groundforce.

With tourist activity only slowly recovering, Globalia is still far from operating as it did before the coronavirus crisis, a source within the sector said.

Earlier this week, airline Iberia – which recently bought Air Europa in a cut-price deal – also announced that it would propose a furlough to its employees, under similar conditions, should Spain’s force majeure government scheme not be prolonged.

Air travel to Spain has slowly begun to recover in recent months with 5 million international passengers arriving in August, according to official data released on Monday, soaring by 172% from a year ago, but less than half pre-pandemic levels.

($1 = 0.8526 euros)

(Reporting by Clara-Laeila Laudette; Editing by Nathan Allen and Bernadette Baum)

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