Iberia plans direct flights to Tokyo, Shanghai

11th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 June 2007, MADRID -Spanish flagship airline Iberia plans to begin operating direct flights between Madrid and the Asian cities of Tokyo and Shanghai at the end of 2009 and thus form "a bridge" between Latin America and the Far East, an executive with the carrier said.Juan Alberto Martin told reporters that Iberia plans to position Madrid's Barajas airport as a hub for Latin American travelers who want to fly to Asia, since currently it would be unprofitable to run these flights solely for Spanish passen

11 June 2007

MADRID -Spanish flagship airline Iberia plans to begin operating direct flights between Madrid and the Asian cities of Tokyo and Shanghai at the end of 2009 and thus form "a bridge" between Latin America and the Far East, an executive with the carrier said.

Juan Alberto Martin told reporters that Iberia plans to position Madrid's Barajas airport as a hub for Latin American travelers who want to fly to Asia, since currently it would be unprofitable to run these flights solely for Spanish passengers.

Speaking during the second edition of the Latin American Tourism, Art and Culture Fair in Europe, being held in this southern Spanish city, Marin said that the airline still has not ordered the aircraft that will operate these routes because it has not yet decided on Airbus or Boeing.

In the first phase of the plan, set to go into effect at the end of 2009, Iberia intends to begin flights to Tokyo and Shanghai, while the second stage will include direct flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and New Delhi.

The routes will enter into service "little by little" because significant funding is required, said Marin, who added that "once the Americas are on board," Asia will be Iberia's "next strategic step."

Given that Spanish demand is insufficient for routes to Asia, the airline proposes filling the flights with another market. Other European countries are not a logical fit due to Spain's geographical location so Iberia is banking on Africa, Portugal, South America and even Miami.

This strategy has the advantage of allowing the airline to increase its flights to Latin America, which have average occupancy rates of 88 percent.

Iberia currently operates daily direct flights from Madrid to 25 Latin American destinations, compared to 1994 when it only flew to seven cities in that region, Marin said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news



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