Iberia prepares to re-open routes from Barcelona to international destinations
Iberia is transformed. After six years with a very critical financial situation, the IAG group has managed to turn the Spanish flag carrier and out of the ICU, despite doubts after joining the British group. Now, Iberia new challenges for the coming years is posed. Among them, prepared to re-open routes from Barcelona to international destinations, mainly thanks to the new cost structure and the new fleet of aircraft.
Commented the CEO, Luis Gallego, in mid-December last year, it would be “flight point to point long distance” as the medium and short-haul group covers him from Barcelona, currently the Vueling airline.
Iberia, whose maiden flight was a Madrid-Barcelona 87 years ago began to reduce its presence in the Catalan capital nine years ago. Currently only it operates the shuttle, a journey that continues to generate losses.
The manager of the company avoided commenting specific destinations and dates of the flights that operate from Barcelona, but said “it will only be a direct connection and in which there is high demand.” He made it clear that “our Madrid hub will continue” despite not look kindly on it shared with Air Europa.
However, the announcement to re-operate international flights profitably from the Catalan city represents a strategic shift for the company, while an opportunity, since it is aware that the airport of El Prat is one of the most international tourist traffic move each year in Spain.
After six consecutive years of losses, Iberia achieved its first operating profit in 2014. In fiscal 2012, the company lost 351 million, which represented almost one million euros a day hole. A year later, in 2013, came the current management team led by Gallego, and losses to less than half were reduced but still reached 166 million. Later that year, he reached a mediation agreement with the staff, especially the drivers (the most contentious collective), and succeeded in designing a new cost structure. In this context, a salary reduction of 14% for the crew and 7% for ground staff agreed. This reduction in personnel costs and productivity improvement carried in 2020, employee costs per seat / kilometer offered will be 35% lower than those of 2012. At the same time, you are running a cost reduction by process changes, with the help of technology. In addition, there are synergies with the group also contribute to achieving the roadmap marked by Gallego. And as the wind blows in favor, we must add to buy fuel at lower prices, by falling oil prices, it allows you to set new trading strategies. The sum of all these actions, 2014 left the red and benefits achieved 50 million. The figures for last year are not public yet (will be presented on 26 February), but are assumed positive, since in the first nine months of the year earned 196 million.
Another factor that will help support routes from Barcelona is the new fleet. Specifically, it has commissioned 29 new long-haul aircraft. This is new generation A350-900 sixteen and thirteen A330-200s, which will be received until 2021. Late last year, Airbus delivered the first of the A330-200, and will arrive nine this year. Iberia was the first airline to receive the new version of this model airplane.
In the past two years, between Iberia and Iberia Express has opened 30 routes, including some suspended, like Havana. And this 2016, the company will open routes to Johannesburg, Tokyo, Shanghai and Puerto Rico. A Tokyo will start flying from October 18, and Shanghai in the coming winter season, when I get permits and slots to begin operations.