|Founded||28 June 1927|
|Hubs||Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport|
|Focus cities||Barcelona–El Prat Airport|
|Frequent-flyer program||Iberia Plus|
|Airport lounge||Sala VIP|
|Fleet size||76 (excl. subsidiaries)|
|Company slogan||¿Y mañana, te imaginas?
(And tomorrow, you imagine?)
|Parent company||International Airlines Group|
|Key people||Antonio Vázquez (President)
Luis Gallego (CEO)
Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A. Operadora, Sociedad Unipersonal, trading as IBERIA, is the flag carrier and the largest airline of Spain. Based in Madrid, it operates an international network of services from its main bases of Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport and Barcelona El Prat Airport.
Iberia, with Iberia Regional (operated by an independent carrier Air Nostrum) and with Iberia Express, is a part of Iberia Group. In addition to transporting passengers and freight, Iberia Group carries out related activities, such as aircraft maintenance, handling in airports, IT systems and in-flight catering. Iberia Group airlines fly to over 102 destinations in 39 countries, and a further 90 destinations through code-sharing agreements with other airlines.
On 8 April 2010, it was confirmed that British Airways and Iberia had signed an agreement to merge, making the combined operation the third largest commercial airline in the world by revenue. Shareholders of both carriers approved the deal on 29 November 2010. The newly merged company, known as International Airlines Group (IAG), was established in January 2011, although both airlines will continue to operate under their current brands.
Iberia, Compañía Aérea de Transportes was incorporated on 28 June 1927 with a capital investment by the financier Horacio Echevarrieta and Deutsche Luft Hansa of 1.1 million pesetas. Flight operations started on 14 December 1927. Within a year, the company was sponsored by the Spanish government to provide postal transport between Madrid and Barcelona. During the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, the aviation companies in Spain were combined and became state-controlled as a general interest public utility, coming into effect in early 1928. As a consequence, Iberia was merged into Compañía de Líneas Aéreas Subvencionadas S.A. (C.L.A.S.S.A.) and ceased activities on 29 May 1929. The name "Iberia" continued to be registered by Director-General Daniel de Araoz y Aréjula. As the name "Iberia" was still registered, it was used when operations began in nationalist-held territory towards the end of the Spanish Civil War. Following the Civil War, Iberia became a purely domestic airline.
The airline was nationalised on 30 September 1944 and became part of INI. In 1946, Iberia was the first airline to fly between Europe and South America after WWII, using a Douglas DC-4 to operate flights between Madrid and Buenos Aires. By the Pact of Madrid in 1953, visa requirements were eliminated for US visitors to Spain. This stimulated the start of transatlantic flights between Spain and United States the following year. In addition, the amendments made in Montreal to the Convention on International Civil Aviation on 14 June 1954 were liberal to Spain, allowing mass tourism using charter planes.
By the time of its 50th anniversary in 1981, the airline carried over ten million passengers in a year for the first time. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Iberia also began to build up interests in other Spanish airlines – Aviaco, Viva Air, Binter Canarias and Binter Mediterraneo and Latin American airlines – Aerolíneas Argentinas, Viasa and Ladeco.
In 1987 Iberia, together with Lufthansa, Air France and SAS, founded Amadeus, an IT company (also known as a GDS) that would enable travel agencies to sell the founders' and other airlines' products from a single system.
During 2001 Iberia was privatised and shares were listed on stock exchanges. By 2002, when Iberia celebrated their 75th anniversary, nearly 500 million people had flown with them.
On 5 February 2006 the new Terminal 4 at Madrid Barajas was turned over to Iberia and the Oneworld alliance members. This provided much-needed expansion capabilities for Iberia. Iberia is responsible for around 60% of the airport's traffic. In 2005 the airline and its regional branch Air Nostrum transported 21,619,041 passengers to/from Barajas.
In November 2012 Iberia announced plans to reduce the number of employees by 4,500 and its fleet by five long-haul and 20 short-haul aircraft.
The company head office is in the inmobiliaria Colonial in the MV49 Business Park in Madrid. This facility is in proximity to the intersection of the Autopista de Circunvalación M-30 and Avenida de América. In 2013 the company moved its head office from the former Campos Velázquez, in the Salamanca district of Madrid, to save money.
On 3 April 2001, Iberia was privatised and included in the IBEX-35 stock index of the Madrid stock exchange. The core shareholders were: Caja Madrid– 23.45%, British Airways 13.2%, SEPI– 5.20%, El Corte Inglés– 2.90%. British Airways raised its stake in Iberia by purchasing American Airlines' remaining shares, reportedly paying £13m for the small shareholding. This increased BA's total stake in Iberia to around 10% and preserved its two seats on the Iberia board. British Airways also had first right to purchase another 32% of Iberia's shares, meaning any takeover of Iberia would have required the approval of British Airways.
British Airways could not acquire more than 49% of Iberia as bilateral air services agreements between Spain and non-EU countries required Iberia to remain in overall Spanish ownership (at least 51%) if the airline was to retain its rights to fly to these countries from Spain. While the new EU-US Open Skies deal on air services removes this requirement on all flights between the EU and US by EU airlines, this is not the case for the lucrative Latin American market on which Iberia relies for the majority of its profits.
On July 2008 British Airways and Iberia announced plans to merge, wherein each airline would retain its original brand. The agreement was confirmed in April 2010, and in July the European Commission and US Department of Transport permitted the merger and began to co-ordinate transatlantic routes with American Airlines. On 6 October 2010 the alliance between British Airways, American Airlines and Iberia formally began operations. The alliance generates an estimated £230 million in annual cost-saving for BA, in addition to the £330 million which would be saved by the merge with Iberia. The merger was finalised on 21 January 2011, resulting in the International Airlines Group (IAG), the world's third-largest airline in terms of annual revenue and the second-largest airline group in Europe.
Prior to merging, British Airways owned a 13.5% stake in Iberia, and thus received ownership of 55% of the combined International Airlines Group; Iberia's other shareholders received the remaining 45%.
The merger has been controversial. British Airways operates two funded principal defined benefit pension schemes in the UK. BA admits that one of the most serious financial risks they suffer is the challenging pension schemes combined deficit. The last actuarial valuation was 3.7bn pounds, value even greater than IAG capitalisation. In addition and according to the "Pensions Act" for the year 2004, should it be necessary, UK's Pension Regulator could force Iberia or IAG to give additional financial support to BA's retirement pension schemes. In their "Annual Report and Accounts Year ended 31 December 2011" BA declares that "negative movements in pension asset values and financial returns from these assets may increase the size of the pension deficit". This is the reason why IAG is currently under dividend restrictions which are expected to be partly dependent on the UK pension regulator's agreement.
Subsidiaries and alliances
Iberia has a 9.49% stake in low-cost carrier Vueling which is based near Barcelona, with parent company IAG owning the remaining 90.51%. This was done to ensure that IAG does not have 100% of the shares in Vueling, but that the shares are split between its divisions. Iberia also has a 0.95% share in Royal Air Maroc.
Iberia is allied with American Airlines, Qantas, Avianca, British Airways, PLUNA of Uruguay and Grupo TACA, and on 1 September 1999, the company joined the Oneworld alliance. British Airways owns 55% of its share capital.
Iberia has a codeshare agreement with several Oneworld members: Cathay Pacific on flights from Amsterdam and London Heathrow to Hong Kong, Japan Airlines on flights from Amsterdam to Tokyo Narita and Royal Jordanian from Madrid to Amman, and with LAN Airlines for flights connecting Latin America and most of Europe.
Iberia formerly owned Aviaco, which operated most domestic routes. It was founded on 18 February 1948 and operated until 1 September 1999. Iberia also owned Binter Canarias, until the Spanish government began the privatisation of the subsidiary. Hesperia Inversiones Aéreas bought the airline from Iberia in July 2002. A second airline using the Binter name, Binter Mediterraneo, was formed as a subsidiary of Iberia in 1988 with routes from Melilla to Malaga, Almeria, Valencia and in its last year, with Madrid. The airline was acquired by Air Nostrum in 1998 and merged into its operations.
New destinations: Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Montevideo
Iberia has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
Iberia operates an all-Airbus fleet of the following aircraft, with an average fleet age of 8.8 years, as of October 2014:
|Airbus A330-200||0||8||0||TBA||Replacing A340-300|
|Airbus A340-300||7||—||—||36||218||254||To be phased out|
Until recently, Iberia's livery consisted of a white background with large orange and yellow accent stripes and a stylized IB on the tail (used since 1978).
On 15 October 2013 Iberia released its new corporate logo and brand, which first appeared on a newly delivered A330-300 in late November and is gradually being applied across the fleet.
In 2005, Iberia introduced its new Business Plus Class on its Airbus A340 aircraft.
In March 2009 Iberia announced that during the course of 2009–2011 it would renovate its economy class on all its planes as well as designing a new business class for its long haul planes.
In addition, Iberia is an aircraft maintenance company, servicing its fleet and those of another 48 companies, including some leading European airlines. Iberia is a supplier of aircraft handling services at all Spanish airports; its airline clients number more than 200.
Iberia was a founding partner in the computerised air ticket reservation system, Amadeus, with an 18.28% stake – this was sold in 2005. Iberia is also active as a tour operator through its Viva Tours and Tiempo Libre units, and with Cacesa, it supplies parcel shipment services.
Iberia makes use of e-tickets and encourages customers to print the boarding pass prior to their flight. Travellers with only carry-on baggage can go directly to the boarding gate. e-tickets sales accounted for 93% of all Iberia tickets sold in January 2006. In Spain identification of the traveller by means of an identity document or passport is mandatory for all airlines on all routes, including Spanish domestic ones.
All of aircraft in the fleet are configured in a two class layout with Business and Economy cabins. Iberia currently markets three distinct business class variations, depending on flight length:
- Business Class
Business Class is available on Spanish domestic and inter-European flights. Seats are exactly the same as in the economy cabin, but with the middle (B and E) seats blocked off. Meals, snacks and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) are complimentary and of a higher quality than economy, Business Class tickets also include improved ground service (priority check-in, security, boarding, baggage handling, and lounge access.)
- Business Club
Business Club is a mid-haul product available on flights to select destinations in Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Israel, Nigeria, and Russia. Unlike on short-haul service, Business Club seats are located in a dedicated cabin, are physically wider, have a greater seat pitch, and are equipped with leg-rests and in-seat video on demand.
- Business Plus
Business Plus is offered on long-haul flights to the Americas and Southern Africa. Business Plus offers lie-flat seating and international business class amenities.
Iberia has moved more to an American, or "a-la carte" model for domestic and European flights, offering a buy on board service called "Tu Menú" in economy for meals, snacks and beverages. Mid-haul flights to Athens, Cairo, Dakar, Istanbul, Malabo, Moscow, and Tel Aviv as well as long-haul intercontinental flights are fully catered in Economy with the exception of alcohol 
Iberia is one of the last remaining major airlines that has not equipped all of its intercontinental routes with PTVs (as for 2013 Iberia has its A330 Fleet with IFE installed in all economy seats and plans to do so with the remaining of the A340-600 fleet).
In-flight catering is provided by Gate Gourmet.
Incidents and accidents
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