DALLAS — Spanish national carrier Iberia (IB) has announced that it will start a codeshare agreement with TAG Airlines (5U), the main airline offering domestic routes between Guatemala and the rest of Central America.
The announcement was made at the International Tourism Fair in Madrid (FITUR), and it will enable passengers traveling from Madrid (MAD) to Guatemala City (GUA) to connect with 5U onwards to 9 destinations in Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, El Salvador, and Belize.
Airways had the pleasure of interviewing Julio Alejandro Gamero, CEO of TAG Airlines, who shared his thoughts on this milestone. The CEO said that the “new agreement will have a very positive effect on travelers, who will now have access to all the touristic attractions and beauty of the Mayan World, not only in Guatemala but also in Honduras and Mexico, thanks to the daily transatlantic flights Iberia offers from Madrid.”
TAG Airlines offers short regional flights to 5 countries in Central America, operated by Saab 340 and Embraer E-145 aircraft, even though the carrier is slowly transitioning to a greener fleet standard that relies completely on the ATR-42 and 72 aircraft.
An Underserved Market by oneworld Airlines
With the heavy presence of airlines such as Aeromexico (AM) and Copa Airlines (CM), the Central American and Caribbean markets are completely dominated by SkyTeam and Star Alliance airlines, respectively.
On the other hand, Oneworld has not yet included any commercial airline based in this region which could eventually fill the gap and earn a considerable market share of passenger traffic.
That’s why IB has chosen to agree on codeshared flights to and from Guatemala by TAG, as oneworld would expand its sphere of influence in Guatemala and beyond.
Iberia codeshares with CM, but it is not comparable to the extensive route network offered by the Panama-based carrier to other Star Alliance partners such as United Airlines (UA) or Avianca (AV).
Talking with Guillermo Bran, Head of Alliances at 5U, he stated that, if needed to move towards any of the three main alliances, oneworld would be the best choice, as 5U has been heavily collaborating with American Airlines (AA) in recent years to offer easier connections from the US to the Mayan World.
Featured image: Special ceremony at FITUR for the codeshare agreement between Iberia and TAG Airlines: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways