Iberia to Regain Prepandemic Capacity in Winter
Airlines Op-Ed Routes

Iberia to Regain Prepandemic Capacity in Winter

DALLAS – The biggest airline of the Iberian Peninsula is confident that it will reach its total pre-pandemic capacity thanks to the opening of new routes and the adhesion of new aircraft to its fleet, this according to an Iberia (IB) press release.

In Latin America, the Spanish airline will be resuming flights to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) and Caracas (CCS), also adding more frequencies to Mexico City (MEX) and Bogotá (BOG), for a total of three flights daily. The carrier will now operate the MAD-CCS route with its new A350-900s, albeit without a business class until further notice.

In North America, the airline will increase its capacity by 15% on its flights to the United States. The increase is motivated mainly by the change of the four-weekly connection with the American Airlines (AA) hub, Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW), from seasonal to year-round.

Iberia’s European Network

Within Europe, IB will remain the leading carrier in the MAD-BCN route, one of the busiest in the world, with a total of 86 weekly frequencies between Spain’s two busiest cities.

Additionally, flights to France, Italy, and Portugal—especially to Lisbon (LIS) and Faro (FAO)—will be increased to up to 73 flights per week between the two neighboring countries of the Iberian Peninsula.

Lastly, the African Continent will be connected to Madrid (MAD) from Casablanca (CMN), Marrakesh (RAK), and Tangier (TNG), in Morocco, along with several charter flights to Amman (AMM) and Cairo (CAI), and a new codeshare flight to Luanda (LAD) in cooperation with TAAG Angola Airlines (DT).

With 14 units in its fleet, the Airbus A350 has been the flagship of Iberia since the start of the pandemic. Photo: Misael Ocasio Hernandez/Airways

A Post-pandemic Spring

The COVID-19 pandemic provoked the worst economic crisis in IB’s history. The sudden drop to almost zero demand in travel forced the airline to make a premature fleet restructuring with the early retirement of its Airbus A340 fleet of aircraft.

While the A340-300 variant left the airline’s fleet in 2017, the A340-600 was thought to remain in the IB’s plans until 2024. However, with the continuous deliveries of the A350, it was clear that the tetra-engine plane wasn’t going to return to operations after the pandemic. Or will it?

Of the 18 total A340-600s, four remain parked at the airline’s maintenance facilities in “La Muñoza.” The airplanes were never deregistered by the airline.

Evidence suggests that IB is in need of more aircraft to support its operations. The airline is wet-leasing a Wamos Air (EB) A330 for cargo flights to China. It has also reincorporated two Airbus A319 aircraft, initially retired from service in 2020.

Will we see at least some Airbus A340s fly again with IB, giving the opportunity to those who have not had the experience of flying a four-engined aircraft to do so?

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Featured image: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways

Commercial aviation enthusiast from Madrid, Spain. Studying for a degree in Air Traffic Management and Operations at the Technical University of Madrid. Aviation photographer since 2018.

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