DALLAS — Spanish flag carrier, Iberia (IB) is undergoing a rapid transformation in its product offering, back in December 2022, the airline introduced brand new cabins for the newer generation of its Airbus A350 aircraft – Iberia also being the first airline to welcome the type. The three cabin offerings are business, premium economy, and economy.
Iberia however has gone the extra mile to bring about awareness about its “NEXT” generation flying experience to its people. Some weeks ago, a dedicated Iberia Espacio customer experience center in downtown Madrid was opened to allow the public to walk in and get a feel of the new feeling.
Airways correspondents Siddharth Ganesh and Adrian Nowakowski go down to Madrid to see what the new IB experience is like at Iberia Espacio.
The new building right at the heart of Madrid features three floors, the ground floor having the most of it. On entering, the new seats of all three cabins are displayed and are sure to catch your attention. Two rows of each class with a bunch of inflight trolleys on the side fully loaded with hot airline meals. Towards the end of the hall, an exclusive Iberia shop sits with a ton of Iberia special equipment ranging from vintage posters to airline models. To lure in those who wish to take control of an airplane, a flight simulator is also present.
The upper floor has a very interesting lineup of Iberia’s cabin crew uniforms through generations up until their latest design of 2022. The Iberia Espacio remains open to the general public until the end of the month – one can even book a week in advance to dine in any of the cabins and experience a full-fledged meal service for no fee.
Cabins at a Glance
The newer generation of Iberia’s A350 jets features 31 in Business, 28 in Premium Economy, and 293 in Economy.
Four of these jets are EC-NVR, EC-NXC, EC-NXD, and EC-NXE. Two more Airbus A350s are expected to join the carrier, both ex Hainan that will not feature the new cabins.
In-flight catering is outsourced to Do&Co, industry experts who also cater to Formula One. In the coming weeks, Iberia will also unveil its latest menu offering, and Airways will cover that for you.
Through 2022, 71.6 million international tourists visited Spain – that’s 86% of what was received in 2019. Of this, 80% were visitors who arrived by air.
For Q2, 2023, the airline’s capacity deployed will be neck in neck with 2019 level and by the end of the year, the forecast looks at 103%.
Talking Europe, Iberia has a presence in over 50 destinations with 198 daily scheduled flights. A key ney new destination would be Rovaniemi come winter, a famous gateway for skiing. The bulk of its European network is flown through the A320 family. Six new A320 Neos were brought in last year and three more are expected to join by the end of 2023.
Outside of Europe, Iberia’s global footprint covers North America, Africa, and Latin America – its most prominent market.
North America will see 8 destinations with the new additions being Dallas (DFW), Washington DC (IAD), and San Francisco (SFO). Chicago (ORD) and Boston (BOS) to see daily flights with heavy reliance on partner carrier American (AA) given it’s two of their major hubs.
At the moment Iberia has no destination in Asia, but Tokyo remains their most promising. The impact of the Ukraine crisis would stretch a Madrid-tokyo flight 3-4 hours longer than necessary. Latin America is Iberia’s area of dominance, with flights to nearly every country but for Paraguay and Bolivia. Mexico to witness 3 daily flights.
Featured image and Iberia Espacio photos: Siddharth Ganesh/Airways