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© Giovanni Gagliardi

Some 18 months after IAG Cargo said it would make 500 staff redundant, it has announced that it is to hire 500 people in its “biggest recruitment drive to date”.

IAG Cargo said the recruitment over the next 12 months was to meet customer demand.

The cargo arm of the carrier group currently employs some 2,250 people. A spokesperson said the new jobs would “span operations, projects, data & analytics, digital and commercial, reflecting our plans to drive forward our ambitious customer engagement strategy, which will see customers remain at the heart of our business”.

The carrier cited strong Q3 results of €405m ($457.5m) to prove its “sustained growth”.

However, when it announced the loss of 500 people in June last year, Q2 revenues were a strong €369m – although the airline said that sold tonnes in Q3 21 were up 42% on a year earlier.

British Airways’ proposals to its unions last year noted low cargo volumes were leading to restructuring, which would see much of its cargo operations outsourced. In a letter leaked to media at the time, BA noted: “Based on our current proposal and understanding of the market conditions, it is anticipated that the total headcount reduction will be in the region of 400 to 500 individuals [in cargo].

“However it could be higher. The exact number of heads that would leave the business will also depend on the part-time mix of those leaving and staying.”

IAG last year announced plans to fire up to 12,000 staff overall – while in October this year it said it would re-hire 3,000 cabin crew.

Union Unite has accused it of bringing back staff on “substantially reduced terms and conditions”, and claimed it has acted in “bad faith”.

The redundancies were announced under the tenure of Willie Walsh, the CEO who left the carrier in September last year. He joined IATA as director general in April – where sources claim there has also been a widespread global redundancy programme since.

Commenting on the recruitment drive, MD David Shepherd said: “IAG Cargo is a growing business offering rewarding careers in a fast-paced environment, where no day is the same. We give individuals the opportunity to put ideas forward, have varied career paths, work autonomously and explore their potential with the support of their team.

“We put a big emphasis on internal promotion and being part of the IAG group means that our employees can not only move ‘up’ but across into other parts of the group. This recruitment drive will see us recruit broadly, advertising a variety of new roles.”

Unite was contacted for comment.

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