World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Iberia Airlines


Iberia Airlines

Founded 28 June 1927
Hubs Madrid (Barajas Airport)
Focus cities Barcelona (El Prat Airport)
Frequent-flyer program Iberia Plus
Airport lounge Sala VIP
Alliance Oneworld
  • Iberia Cargo
  • Iberia Express
Fleet size 79 (+22 orders and 52 options)
Destinations 75
Company slogan ¿Y mañana, te imaginas?
(And tomorrow, you imagine?)
Parent company International Airlines Group
Headquarters Velázquez, 130, Madrid, Spain[1]
Key people Antonio Vázquez President Luis Gallego CEO[2]Manuel Lopez Agullar (Chief Commercial and Customer Service Officer And Director)

Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A. Operadora, Sociedad Unipersonal, trading as IBERIA, is the flag carrier and one of the largest airlines of Spain. Based in Madrid,[3] it operates an international network of services from its main bases of Madrid-Barajas Airport and Barcelona El Prat Airport.[4]

Iberia, with Iberia Regional (operated by an independent carrier Air Nostrum), 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. Via code-sharing arrangements with other companies, it offers flights to another 90 destinations.[4]

On 8 April 2010, it was confirmed that British Airways and Iberia had signed an agreement to merge,[5] making the combined operation the third largest commercial airline in the world by revenue.[6] Shareholders of both carriers approved the deal on 29 November 2010.[7] 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.[8]

In November 2012 Iberia is planning to reduce the number of employees by 4,500 and its fleet by five long-haul and 20 short-haul aircraft, in a "fight for survival", as IAG's chief executive officer said.[9]


Iberia, Compañía Aérea de Transportes was incorporated on 28 June 1927 with a capital investment by the financier Horacio Echeberrieta 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.[4] 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 2009, Iberia reached an agreement to merge with European rival British Airways. This merger was completed by April 2010, creating the International Airlines Group. The newly formed company consisted of British Airways and Iberia as well as their respective subsidiaries and has their main hubs at London Heathrow Airport and Madrid Barajas Airport as well as smaller hubs at Gatwick Airport and Barcelona El-Prat Airport. 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 capitalization. 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.


On 3 April 2001, Iberia was privatised and included in the IBEX-35 stock index of the Madrid stock exchange. The core shareholders are: Caja Madrid– 23.45%, British Airways 13.2%, SEPI– 5.20%, El Corte Inglés– 2.90%.[10] British Airways has raised its stake in Iberia by purchasing American Airlines' remaining shares, reportedly paying £13m for the small shareholding. This increases the total stake in Iberia to around 10% and preserves its two seats on the Iberia board.[11] British Airways also has first right to purchase another 32% of Iberia's shares. Consequently any takeover of Iberia would require the approval of British Airways.

British Airways cannot acquire more than 49% of Iberia as bilateral air services agreements between Spain and non-EU countries require Iberia to remain in overall Spanish ownership (at least 51%) if the airline is 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 29 July 2008, British Airways and Iberia confirmed they were in merger talks and on 12 November 2009, they confirmed that they had reached a deal. The merger was approved by European regulators in July 2010.[12] It was decided that Iberia would hold 45% of the newly formed company.

Iberia has 24,348 employees (at March 2007).[4]

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.[4]

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.

In 2009 Vueling merged with Clickair, another Spanish low-cost airline.

Former subsidiaries

  • Aviaco, Aviación y Comercio, S.A. (Aviation and Commerce) was a subsidiary of Iberia mostly for domestic lines. It was founded on 18 February 1948 and operated until 1 September 1999.

Binter was the name of two airlines, both of which were subsidiaries of Iberia. Both airlines flew CN-235's :

  • Binter Canarias - was established on 18 February 1988 and started operations on 26 March 1989. It was formed as a subsidiary of Iberia. In late 1999 SEPI (the Spanish state holding company of Iberia) implemented the privatisation of Binter Canarias, but held on to a "golden share", permitting it to authorise any future shareholding deal of more than 25%. However, the airline was wholly owned by Hesperia Inversiones Aéreas, which bought the airline in July 2002. It is now owned by Ilsamar Tenerife (49.81%), Ferma Canarias Electrica (10.44%), Agencia Maritima Afroamericana (10.11%), Flapa (10%) and others (19.6%) and has 406 employees. Some of the owners of Binter Canarias decided to buy Navegacion y Servicios Aéreos Canarios (NAYSA) and to transfer some planes from Binter to NAYSA in order to reduce costs and increase benefits.
  • Binter Mediterraneo - created in 1988, in the likeness of Binter Canarias, and subsidiary of Iberia LAE. The airline was based in Madrid and operated a fleet consisting of five CASA CN-235 aircraft. Binter Mediterraneo linked the city of Melilla to Malaga, Almeria, Valencia and in its last year, with Madrid. Binter ceased operations after one of its planes crashed on August 29 of 2001 in the vicinity of Malaga airport while performing the Melilla-Malaga route.[13] acquired by Air Nostrum, another Iberia subsidiary, in 1998 and absorbed its operations. It replaced the remaining CN-235's with ATR-72's.


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 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 [14]

Iberia is one of the last remaining major airlines that has not equiped 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).


Main article: Iberia destinations

Codeshare agreements

Iberia has codeshare agreement with the following airlines:


Gate Gourmet provides Iberia's in-flight catering. Economy class passengers traveling within western Europe have a buy on board food programme called "Tu Menú."[17]


Iberia operates an all-Airbus fleet with the following aircraft and an average fleet age of 9.1 years as of July 2013:[18]

Iberia Fleet
Aircraft In Fleet Orders Options Passengers Notes
P Y Total
Airbus A319-100 14 2 44 78 122 EC-KKS painted retro livery
Airbus A320-200 14 16 18 162 180 EC-HDP painted Oneworld livery
Airbus A321-200 18 46 154 200
Airbus A330-300 4 4 8 36 241 277 Replacing older A340-300
Airbus A340-300 12 36 218 254
Airbus A340-600 17 42 300 342
Airbus A350-900 32[19] TBA TBA TBA
Boeing 787-9 TBA 12[20] TBA TBA TBA
Total 79 22 52

Iberia's livery consists of a white background with large orange and yellow accent stripes and a stylized IB on the tail (used since 1978). Iberia released its new corporate logo and brand on 15th October 2013. The branding will first appear on a newly delivered A330-300 in late November and be gradually applied everywhere else.[21]

Fleet development

Over the years, Iberia operated the following aircraft types:[22][23][24]

Aircraft Introduced Retired
Airbus A300 1981 2002
Airbus A319-100 2000
Airbus A320-200 1990
Airbus A321-200 1999
Airbus A330-300 2013
Airbus A340-300 1996
Airbus A340-600 2004
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 1974 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

Incidents and accidents

Main article: Iberia accidents and incidents

See also

Spain portal
Companies portal
Aviation portal


External links

  • Iberia website
  • International Airlines Group website
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.