Iberia (airline)

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Iberia (2013).svg
IATA ICAO Callsign
Founded 28 June 1927
Hubs Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport
Focus cities Barcelona–El Prat Airport
Frequent-flyer program Iberia Plus/Avios
Airport lounge Sala VIP
Alliance Oneworld
Fleet size 79 (excluding subsidiaries)
Destinations 89 (excluding subsidiaries)
Company slogan ¿Y mañana, te imaginas?
(And tomorrow, can you imagine?)
Parent company International Airlines Group

MV49 Business Park

Ciudad Lineal, Madrid, Spain[1]
Key people
Website iberia.com
Iberia A330-300 and Patrulla Águila at the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Air Force
Iberia 747-341 in 1985

Iberia, legally incorporated as Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A. Operadora, Sociedad Unipersonal, is the flag carrier of Spain founded in 1927. Based in Madrid, it operates an international network of services from its main bases of Madrid-Barajas Airport and Barcelona El Prat Airport.[3] 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 109 destinations in 39 countries, and a further 90 destinations through code-sharing agreements with other airlines.[3] On 8 April 2010, it was confirmed that British Airways and Iberia had signed an agreement to merge,[4] making the combined operation the third largest commercial airline in the world by revenue.[5] Shareholders of both carriers approved the deal on 29 November 2010.[6] 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.[7]


Main article: History of Iberia

Brief summary of Iberia history[edit]

Inaugural flight to Buenos Aires in 1946 with the Douglas DC-4
Iberia Sud Aviation Caravelle in 1973
Iberia aircrafts at Madrid-Barajas Airport
The King Alfonso XIII in the inaugural flight of Iberia in 1927.
Iberia Douglas DC-8-52 in 1969
Madrid-Seville flight in 1929 with a Junkers G 24
Former Iberia logo since 1977

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 as an independent airline on 29 May 1929.[8] 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.[citation needed]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 World War II, using a Douglas DC-4 to operate flights between Madrid and Buenos Aires.[3] 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.[citation needed]

From 1961 Iberia had a fleet of Douglas DC-8 four-engined long range jet airliners. The busiest route was Madrid to Buenos Aires. By 1965 a joint board of Iberia and Aviaco was set up to coordinate policies so that services did not conflict. In the early 1970s the company bought Douglas DC-9s and Boeing 747s as it expanded routes to Central America.

In the late 1980s/early 1990s Iberia planned a fleet renewal with the McDonnell Douglas MD-87, Airbus A320 and Airbus A340 replacing the Douglas DC-9, Boeing 727 and Douglas DC-10 respectively. A number of Boeing 757s were also bought.

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.

In the final of the 80's Iberia began to build up interests in other Spanish airlines - Aviaco, Viva Air, Binter Canarias and Binter Mediterráneo - and Latin American airlines Aerolíneas Argentinas, Viasa and Ladeco. In June 1990 the company led a consortium to buy Aerolíneas Argentinas for an agreed $2billion for 85% stake and the following year bought 45% stake in Viasa for $145million. In 1991 Iberia set up Europe's first international airline frequent-flyer programme,[9] Iberia Plus, and, in 1996, the airline launched the www.iberia.com website.

The company ordered 76 aircraft from Airbus in February 1998, which was largest single consignment of Airbus ordered, and bought Aviaco in 1999 and inherited its fleet.

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.[citation needed]

The Iberia Group encompasses the Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum franchise. In addition to transporting passengers and freight, Iberia carries out many related activities, such as aircraft maintenance, handling in airports, IT systems, in-flight catering, and holiday packages.

In July 2004, Iberia announced it had decided to move its Latin American hub from Miami, Florida to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

On 5 February 2006, 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.

Iberia partially owns a low-cost carrier called Clickair, launched in November 2006.

On November 12, 2009, Iberia confirmed that it had reached a preliminary agreement to merge with British Airways. The merger between the two carriers will create the world's third-largest airline in terms of revenue.On April 25, 2010, it was confirmed that British Airways and Iberia had agreed to a merger, forming the International Airlines Group, although each airline would continue to operate under its current brand.

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.[9]

In 2012 Iberia established its own low-cost airline Iberia Express , which operates short- and medium-haul routes from its parent airline's Madrid hub, providing feeder flights onto Iberia's long-haul network. The airline began operating on 25 March 2012 and shares its head office with Iberia in Chamartín, Madrid.

Until 2013, 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 design, which first appeared on a newly delivered A330-300 in late November and is gradually being applied across the fleet.[10]

On 14 November 2016, Iberia retired its last Airbus A340-300 after its final arrival from Boston.[11]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Head office[edit]

The company head office is in the MV49 Business Park in Madrid.[12][13][14] 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,[12] in the Salamanca district of Madrid,[15] to save money.[12]


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%.[16] 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.[17]

In July 2008 British Airways and Iberia announced plans to merge, wherein each airline would retain its original brand.[18] The agreement was confirmed in April 2010,[19] and in July the European Commission and United States Department of Transportation permitted the merger and began to co-ordinate transatlantic routes with American Airlines.[20][21] 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.[22][23] 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.[19][24]

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%.[25]

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.[citation needed]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.[citation needed]

As of December 2013, the airline had over 18,000 employees.[26]

Subsidiaries and alliances[edit]

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.[3]

Iberia is allied with American Airlines, Qantas, Avianca, British Airways, and Grupo TACA, and on 1 September 1999, the company joined the Oneworld alliance. British Airways owns 55% of its share capital.[citation needed]

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 Málaga, Almeria, Valencia and in its last year, with Madrid. The airline was acquired by Air Nostrum in 1998 and merged into its operations.

Iberia was a founding partner in the computerised air ticket reservation system, Amadeus, with an 18.28% stake – this was sold in 2005.[citation needed] Iberia is also active as a tour operator through its Viva Tours and Tiempo Libre units, and with Cacesa, it supplies parcel shipment services. e-tickets sales accounted for 93% of all Iberia tickets sold in January 2006.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]


Main article: Iberia destinations

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Iberia codeshares with the following airlines:[27]


Current fleet[edit]

Iberia Airbus A340-600 with the old livery

Iberia operates an all-Airbus fleet of the following aircraft, as of January 2017:[28]

Iberia fleet
Aircraft In Service[29] Orders[30] Passengers Notes
P Y Total
Airbus A319-100 16 14
To be replaced by A320 and A320neo
Airbus A320-200 14 7 18 144 162
Airbus A320neo 17 TBA
Airbus A321-200 14 50 124 174
Airbus A321neo 3 TBA
Airbus A330-200 10 3 19 269 288 Deliveries since December 2015[31][32]
Airbus A330-300 8 36 242 278
Airbus A340-600 17 46 300 346 Older aircraft will be replaced by Airbus A350
Airbus A350-900 16 TBA EIS: 2018
Total 79 46
Iberia Airbus 319 with retro livery

Fleet development[edit]

Former Iberia MD88
Former Iberia Boeing 747-400
Former Iberia Boeing 757-200
Former Iberia Boeing 727

Over the years, Iberia operated the following aircraft types:[33][34]

Aircraft Introduced Retired
Airbus A300 1981 2002
Airbus A319-100 2000 -
Airbus A320-200 1990 -
Airbus A321-200 1999 -
Airbus A330-200 2016 -
Airbus A330-300 2013 -
Airbus A340-300 1996 2016[11]
Airbus A340-600 2003 -
Boeing 727-200 1972 2001
Boeing 737-300 1988 1990
Boeing 737-400 1998 2001
Boeing 747-100 1970 1981
Boeing 747-200 1972 2005
Boeing 747-300 2000 2005
Boeing 747-400 2004 2006
Boeing 757-200 1993 2008
Boeing 767-300 1998 2001
Bristol 170 Freighter MK.31 1953 1963
Convair 440 1957 1972
De Havilland DH.89 Dragon Rapide 1934 1953
Dornier Do J Wal 1935 1936
Douglas DC-1 1938 1940
Douglas DC-2 1935 1946
Douglas DC-3 1944 1973
Douglas DC-4 1946 1968
Douglas DC-8 1961 1983
Douglas DC-9 1967 2001
Fokker F28 1970 1975
Ford Trimotor 1930 1946
Junkers G 24 1929 1936
Junkers Ju 52 1937 1957
Lockheed L-1011 TriStar 1997 1998
Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation 1954 1966
McDonnell Douglas DC-10 1973 2000
McDonnell Douglas MD-87 1990 2008
McDonnell Douglas MD-88 1999 2008
Rohrbach Ro-VIII Roland 1927 1929
SNCASE SE.161 Languedoc 1952 1960
Sud Caravelle 1962 1987

Aircraft cabins[edit]

Iberia Business Plus class on board an Airbus A330-300
Iberia Economy class on board an Airbus A319-100

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. 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.[citation needed] Iberia was one of the last remaining major airlines to equip all of its intercontinental routes with personal entertainment screens. As of 2016, now the Airbus A330-200 and -300 and A340-600 fleets are equipped with the personal IFE. In-flight catering is provided by Gate Gourmet.

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. Business Class tickets also include improved ground service (priority check-in, security, boarding, baggage handling, and lounge access.)[35]

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.[36]

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.[37]


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.[38] 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.[37][39]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

As of January 2016, a total of 37 aircraft operated by or for Iberia have been written off in accidents and a shoot-down since 1939. Several Iberia aircraft have also been hijacked. These incidents and accidents include the following:[40]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Airline Membership". IATA. 
  2. ^ "Iberia Express CEO Takes Charge Of Parent". Aviation Week. 28 March 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Directory: World Airlines". Flight International. 2007-04-03. pp. 91–92. 
  4. ^ "British Airways and Iberia sign merger agreement". BBC News. 2010-04-08. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  5. ^ "BA seals long-awaited Iberia deal". Reuters UK. 2010-04-08. Retrieved 8 April 2010. 
  6. ^ "BA Iberia merger gets approval from shareholders". BBC News. BBC News. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  7. ^ "IAG shares begin trading, replacing BA and Iberia". BBC News Online. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "Compañía de Líneas Aéreas Subvencionadas S.A. (C.L.A.S.S.A.)". 9 December 2004. Retrieved 16 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "Iberia to cut 4,500 staff and reduce fleet by 25 aircraft". Flightglobal.com. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  10. ^ "Iberia unveils new colour scheme". http://www.flightglobal.com/. Flightglobal.com. Retrieved 16 October 2013.  External link in |work= (help)
  11. ^ a b ch-aviation.com - Iberia ends A340-300 operations 23 November 2016
  12. ^ a b c "Iberia se muda de sede por un "importante ahorro de costes"" (Archive). Preferente. 8 January 2013. Retrieved on August 13, 2014.
  13. ^ "Legal information." Iberia. Retrieved on August 13, 2014. "IBERIA LAE SA Operadora Unipersonal, with official address at C/ Martínez Villergas, 49 28027 Madrid"
  14. ^ "Google Maps". Google Maps. Retrieved 2016-04-19. 
  15. ^ "Legal notice." Iberia. Retrieved on 25 February 2010. "Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A. with official address at Calle Velázquez no. 130, 28006 Madrid,"
  16. ^ "Inicio - Iberia". Grupo.iberia.es. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 
  17. ^ Airliner World January 2007
  18. ^ Brothers, Caroline (30 July 2008). "British Airways in Merger Talks". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2008. 
  19. ^ a b "British Airways and Iberia sign merger agreement". BBC News. 8 April 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  20. ^ Rowley, Emma (15 July 2010). "EC approves BA alliance with American Airlines and Iberia". The Telegraph. London. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  21. ^ Kamal Ahmed (14 February 2010). "British Airways given approval for tie up with American Airlines and Iberia". The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  22. ^ Wilson, Elliot (14 July 2010). "British Airways' three-way alliance cleared for takeoff". Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 16 July 2010. 
  23. ^ "Airlines unveil 'new deal for transatlantic flyers'". The Independent. London. 8 October 2010. Retrieved 8 October 2010. 
  24. ^ "Iberia expects to complete merger with British Airways in January". Daily Nation. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2010. 
  25. ^ "BA and Iberia agree merger deal". BBC News. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 
  26. ^ Moores, Victoria (24 July 2014). "Iberia pilots and ground staff agree to job cuts". Air Transport World. Archived from the original on 24 July 2014. 
  27. ^ "Profile on Iberia". CAPA. Centre for Aviation. Archived from the original on 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2016-10-31. 
  28. ^ "Iberia". planespotters.net. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  29. ^ "Iberia Fleet | Airfleets aviation". www.airfleets.net. Retrieved 2016-12-25. 
  30. ^ "Orders & deliveries | Airbus, a leading aircraft manufacturer". airbus. Retrieved 2016-12-25. 
  31. ^ "IAG orders 31 widebody & single aisle aircraft". airbus. Retrieved 2016-12-25. 
  32. ^ Drum, Bruce (2015-03-05). "Iberia to take early delivery of 8 Airbus A330-200s to speed up the retirement of the A340-300s". World Airline News. Retrieved 2016-12-25. 
  33. ^ "Iberia fleet development listing at". Airfleets.net. Retrieved 2013-04-20. 
  34. ^ Customer Summary Through March 2013. Boeing.com.
  35. ^ "Business Class - Iberia". www.iberia.com. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  36. ^ "Business Club - Iberia". www.iberia.com. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  37. ^ a b "Business Plus - Iberia". www.iberia.com. Retrieved 2016-04-17. 
  38. ^ "Tu Menú." Iberia Airlines. Accessed October 11, 2008.
  39. ^ "Economy." Iberia. Retrieved on 13 December 2011.
  40. ^ "Iberia occurrences". Aviation Safety Network. Flight Safety Foundation. Retrieved 26 January 2016. 
  41. ^ Accident description for Junkers Ju-52/3mge registration M-CABD at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 26 January 2016.
  42. ^ Accident description for Junkers Ju-52/3m registration M-CABA at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 26 January 2016.
  43. ^ "Technical Report 1957". Aviation Safety Network. 1957. 
  44. ^ "Technical Report 1959". Aviation Safety Network. 1959. 
  45. ^ Accident description for Convair CV-440-62 registration EC-ATH at the Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved on 26 January 2016.
  46. ^ "Technical Report 1972". Aviation Safety Network. 1972. 
  47. ^ "Mid-air collision kills 68". BBC news. 1973-03-05. 
  48. ^ "Technical Report 1973". Aviation Safety Network. 1973. 
  49. ^ "Technical Report A-009/1985". Aviation Safety Network. 1985. 
  50. ^ Inform from Ministerio de Fomento (in Spanish)
  51. ^ Iberia A340-600 badly damaged after sliding off Quito runway

Further reading[edit]

  • Javier Vidal Olivares (2003a). "Estado, regulación de los mercados y estrategia empresarial en América Latina: Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, en Argentina y Uruguay, 1966-1975". Historia económica & Historia de empresas (in Spanish). VI (1). 1219-3314, 121-150. 
  • ——— (2003b). El fracaso de la expansión internacional de la aerolínea Iberia en América Latina: los casos de Panamá y República Dominicana,1966-1973. TST. Transportes, Servicios y Telecomunicaciones (in Spanish). 6. 1578-5777, 23-39. 
  • ——— (2006). "De la internacionalización a la multinacionalización: Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España en América Latina (1966-2000)". In M. Cerutti. Empresas y grupos empresariales en América Latina, España y Portugal (1870-2000) (in Spanish). Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and Universidad de Alicante. ISBN 970-694-224-6. 
  • ——— (2008a). "Las alianzas empresariales en la aviación comercial: Iberia, LAE (1950-1978)". Cátedra Corona (in Spanish). 13 (13). 1657-477X, 1-66. 
  • ——— (2008b). Las alas de España: Iberia, líneas aéreas: de aerolínea de bandera a transportista mundial (1940-2005). Publicacions de la Universitat de València (in Spanish). 13 (first ed.). Valencia. ISBN 978-84-370-7084-1. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Iberia at Wikimedia Commons