Iberia takes another step to make Barcelona airport a major intercontinental hub
Tuesday 19, October 2010
Iberia is growing in Barcelona. In the next summer season, the Spanish airline will operate direct transatlantic flights from the city to Miami and SÃ£o Paulo. To bring traffic to these flights, Iberia is transforming El Prat airport into a genuine hub for flights by Vueling and Iberia Regional /Air Nostrum.
In addition, for passengers on the new flights from Barcelona to Miami and São Paulo, Iberia has a thick web of connections to distribute this traffic throughout the Americas: from Miami to other U.S. and Central American cities via code shares with American Airlines; and from São Paulo to the rest of Brazil and cites of the southern cone of South American with the Gol company, under a new code share agreement that is now being negotiated, and with other airlines in the region.
Added to this is the new maintenance hangar in Barcelona that Iberia is opening today, which is the only one in Barcelona able to accommodate aircraft with more than 100 seats, and will deliver a strong impulse to the future development of the airport.
Direct Iberia Transatlantic Flights from Barcelona
Starting on March 28th, Iberia will offer direct flights from Barcelona to Miami and São Paulo. The company will operate three weekly flights to each of the two cities, using Airbus A340/300s, and scheduling the flights to ensure convenient connections.
Iberia expects many passengers on the new Barcelona-Miami and Barcelona-São Paulo route to be heading to or from other cities, and that the Barcelona airport will thus become another important hub for distributing passenger traffic to and from the Americas. El Prat airport is served by both Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum and by Vueling. Passengers on the Barcelona-São Paulo route can connect to or from Vueling's 43 destinations in Spain, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. This airline, in which Iberia holds a 45.85 share, is a "new generation" airline that offers customers the possibility of reserving connecting flights and booking their luggage through to the final destination.
The new flights will also enable Iberia to expand its cargo services in Barcelona, particularly with export shipments to the United States and Latin America.
From Barcelona to Miami, Other U.S. Cities, Mexico, and Central America
In the first year of operation, average seat occupancy on the new flight is expected to reach 80%, for a total of more than 50,000 passengers in 2011. Of these, 31% will be travelling beyond Miami, mainly to other U.S., Mexican, and Central American destinations. Iberia passengers in Miami can connect to flights to ten destinations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico (San Juan, Houston, Orlando, Dallas, Tampa, Key West, Norfolk, Pensacola, Ft. Myers and Tallahassee), and to another five cites in Mexico (Mexico City, Cancun) and Central America (Managua, Panama City, San Pedro Sula, Mexico City, and Cancún) thanks to the code sharing agreement between Iberia and American Airlines.
In addition, all flights over the North Atlantic are covered by the "joint business" agreement signed by Iberia, American Airlines and British Airways, whereby customers get cheaper fares, extra frequent flyer points, more travel options, and easier connections within the oneworld alliance to 663 destinations in 134 countries.
Cruise ship passengers are expected to constitute a significant proportion of the passengers on the Barcelona-Miami flights, since about 20% of Miami-Barcelona passengers board cruise ships in Barcelona.
From Barcelona to São Paulo and the Entire Southern Cone
Iberia also expects to fly some 50,000 passengers on the Barcelona-São Paulo route in 2011, with 83% seat occupancy. The Barcelona-São Paulo flights Iberia's gateway to Brazil, where passengers will find connections to another 13 cities (Bel Horizonte, Brasilia, Curitiba, Florianopolis, Fortaleza, Goiania, Iguaçu, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Salvador de Bahía, and Vitoria), thanks to the agreement, subject to the authorities approval, with the Gol airline. Iberia passengers can also connect in São Paulo to Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia.
A New Hangar for Barcelona
Iberia's other new strength in Barcelona is the maintenance hangar that is being opened today. It is the sole facility in Barcelona with a capacity to accommodate aircraft with more than 100 seats, and is expected to help drive future development of EL Prat airport.
It will also contribute to Barcelona's business and industrial development, as its production steadily increases. In the medium term it is expected to create between 150 and 200 direct highly-skilled jobs.
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