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|Ceased operations||16 December 2006|
|Hubs||Madrid Barajas Airport|
|Parent company||Grupo Marsans|
|Headquarters||San Sebastián de los Reyes, Community of Madrid, Spain|
|Key people||José Luis Carrillo, President|
Air Madrid Líneas Aéreas S.A. was an airline headquartered in San Sebastián de los Reyes, Community of Madrid, Spain, operating services to Spain, Tenerife, Mexico, South America, Central America, Europe and Israel. It suspended its operations on 15 December 2006, leaving more than 330,000 passengers stranded in Latin America and Spain. Air Comet took over the Latin American routes, but has now ceased operations as well.
The airline was established in 2003 and, in May 2004, started operations with the delivery of two Airbus A330-200 aircraft. It was owned by Celuisma (20%), Hotusa (20%), Herpil (12.5%), Catalonia Hoteles (10%), Quo Viajes (10%), Viajes Eroski (10%) and others. Air Madrid planned to start a new short-haul scheduled arm to provide feeder traffic to its long-haul flights from Madrid. It also had talks to lease five Airbus A320 aircraft for services to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Milan and Paris.
In September 2006, the company had started experiencing longer than usual delays and several cancellations, particularly on their routes from Madrid, e.g. flights between Buenos Aires and Madrid usually departed with an average 14 hours delay. As reported in El País, most of these delays were triggered by Spanish aviation authorities for safety reasons, refusing to allow certain aircraft to operate due to poor maintenance. After an investigation, the Dirección General de Aviación Civil recommended limiting Air Madrid's flights or suspending their licence altogether. Additionally, sources at Toluca, Mexico stated that Air Madrid’s twice weekly flights regularly arrived and departed several hours late. As a result of these particular delays, Air Madrid was forced to decide between keeping its certificate or cancelling their flights to Mexico City - Toluca Airport and Milan which they decided to cancel.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that Air Madrid was suspended from IATA operations worldwide on December 15, 2006 following confirmation that the airline had ceased operations. On 16 December 2006, Air Madrid suspended all flights, leaving thousands of people stranded, as a consequence of a Spanish government investigation into its operations and due to constant customer complaints regarding poor service, which resulted in the cancellation of its operational licence.
Air Madrid, blaming the Spanish government, said in a statement that it was giving a list of ticket-holders to the civil aviation authority, which falls under the Development Ministry, for it to “adopt whatever measures it might deem appropriate to compensate them for the damage its conduct has caused.” Air Madrid didn't show any intention of refunding tickets and, as expected, the carrier’s press office said it had no information on this. On 19 December 2006, the Spanish Government sent an Air Pullmantur Boeing 747-200 through Panama City, Panama (Tocumen International Airport) to pick up several of the passengers that were stranded in Latin America. According to some pilots, the majority of Air Madrid planes had serious maintenance problems.
Air Comet signed a deal with the Spanish government to take over the Latin American routes formerly operated by Air Madrid. The airline took on 53% of the Air Madrid workforce and agreed to fly back stranded passengers.
Air Madrid Destinations (all flights canceled until further notice):
- Madrid to Bogotá, Bucharest, Buenos Aires, Cartagena, Fortaleza, Guayaquil, Lima, London Gatwick, Milan, Panama City, Paris, Rome, Mahon, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Quito, San José, Costa Rica, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Santiago, Tel Aviv and Toluca (Mexico City alternate airport).
- Barcelona to Bogotá, Bucharest, Buenos Aires, Cartagena, Fortaleza, Guayaquil, Milan, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and Santiago
The Air Madrid fleet consisted of the following aircraft (as of November 2006):
- 1 x Airbus A310-300 (to Air Transat as C-GTSX)
- 2 x Airbus A319-132 (both going to Sichuan Airlines)
- 3 x Airbus A330-200 (SE-RBG back to Novair)(EC-IYN and EC-IYB going to Air Comet "Viajes Pascual")
- 2 x Airbus A330-300 (OO-SFW to Brussels Airlines)(the other going to Air Asia)
- 1 x Airbus A340-300 Going to Air Comet
- "Servicios Centrales." Air Madrid. 15 December 2006. Retrieved on 6 September 2009.
- Airliner World, September 2005
- Otero, Lara. "Aviación Civil aconseja limitar los vuelos de Air Madrid o retirar su licencia." El País. Friday 3 November 2006. Retrieved on 14 November 2012.
- Flight International, 23–29 January 2007
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