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Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A. ( ) is the flag carrier airline of Spainmarker. Based in Madridmarker, it operates an international network of services. Its main bases are Madrid-Barajas Airportmarker and Barcelona El Prat Airportmarker. In 2008 the airline reported a net profit of €32 million (€327.6 million in 2007, €56.7 million in 2006, €395 million in 2005) - its 13th consecutive year of profits. Iberia transported 27,799,000 passengers in 2006 (27,675,000 in 2005).

Iberia Airlines, with Iberia Regional (operated by an independent carrier Air Nostrum), is a part of Iberia Group. In addition to transporting passengers and freight, Iberia Group carries out related activities, such as aircraft maintenance, handling in airports, IT systems and in-flight catering. Iberia Group airlines fly to over 102 destinations in 39 countries. Via code-sharing arrangements with other companies, it offers flights to another 90 destinations.

On 12 November 2009, Iberia Airlines confirmed that it had reached a preliminary agreement to merge with British Airways. The combined airline will become the world's third-largest airline (after Delta Air Lines and American Airlines) in terms of revenue.


Iberia, Compañía Aérea de Transportes was incorporated on 28 June 1927 with a capital investment by the financier Horacio Echeberrieta and Lufthansamarker of 1.1 million pesetas. Flight operations started on 14 December 1927. Within a year, the company was sponsored by the Spanish government to provide postal transport between Madrid and Barcelona. During the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, the aviation companies in Spain were combined and become state-controlled as a general interest public utility, coming into effect in early 1928. As a consequence, Iberia was merged into Compañía de Líneas Aéreas Subvencionadas S.A. (C.L.A.S.S.A.) and ceased activities on 29 May 1929. The name "Iberia" continued to be registered by Director-General Daniel de Araoz y Aréjula. As the name "Iberia" was still registered, it was used when operations began in nationalist-held territory towards the end of Spanish Civil War. Following the Civil War, it became a purely domestic airline.

The airline was nationalised on 30 September 1944 and became part of INI. In 1946, it was the first airline to fly between Europe and South America after WWII, using a Douglas DC-4 flying from Madrid to Buenos Airesmarker. By the Pact of Madrid in 1953, visa requirements were eliminated for US visitors to Spain. This stimulated the start of transatlantic flights between Spain and United States the following year. In addition, the amendments made in Montreal to the Convention on International Civil Aviation on 14 June 1954 were liberal to Spain, allowing mass tourism using charter planes.

Airbus A319 in retro colour scheme.
By the time of the 50th anniversary in 1977, the airline carried over 10 million passengers in a year for the first time. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, Iberia also began to build up interests in other Spanish airlines - Aviaco, Viva Air, Binter Canarias and Binter Mediterraneo and Latin American airlines - Aerolíneas Argentinas, Viasa and Ladeco. .

During 2001 Iberia was privatised and shares were listed on stock exchanges. By 2002, when Iberia celebrated its 75th anniversary, nearly 500 million people had flown with them.

On 5 February 2006 the new Terminal 4 at Madrid Barajasmarker was given over to Iberia and the Oneworld alliance members. This provided much-needed expansion capabilities for Iberia. Iberia is responsible for around 60% of the airport's traffic. In 2005 the airline and its regional branch Air Nostrum transported 21,619,041 passengers to/from Barajasmarker.


Iberia's headquarters in Madrid.

On 3 April 2001, Iberia was privatised and included in the IBEX-35 stock index of the Madrid stock exchangemarker. The core shareholders are: Caja Madrid– 23.45%, British Airways 13.2%, SEPI– 5.20%, El Corte Inglés– 2.90% . British Airways has raised its stake in Iberia by purchasing American Airlines' remaining shares, reportedly paying £13m for the small shareholding. This increases the total stake in Iberia to around 10% and preserves its two seats on the Iberia board . British Airways also has first right to purchase another 32% of Iberia's shares. Consequently any takeover of Iberia will require the approval of British Airways.

British Airways cannot acquire more than 49% of Iberia as bilateral air services agreements between Spain and non-EU countries require Iberia to remain in overall Spanish ownership (at least 51%) if the airline is to retain its rights to fly to these countries from Spain. While the new EU-US Open Skies deal on air services removes this requirement on all flights between the EU and US by EU airlines, this is not the case for the lucrative Latin American market on which Iberia relies for the majority of its profits.

On 29 July 2008, British Airways and Iberia confirmed they are in merger talks and on 12 November 2009, they confirmed that they had reached a deal. A merger, which will allow both airlines to maintain their own brands, is likely to go through towards the end of 2010. Iberia will hold 45% of the newly formed company.

Iberia has 24,348 employees (at March 2007).

Subsidiaries and alliances

Iberia has a 20% stake in low-cost carrier Vueling, which is based in Barcelonamarker and a 0.95% share in Royal Air Maroc.

Iberia is allied with American Airlines, Qantas, Avianca, British Airways, PLUNA of Uruguaymarker and Grupo TACA, and on 1 September 1999, the company joined the Oneworld alliance. British Airways owns 55% of its share capital.

Iberia has a codeshare agreement with several Oneworld members: Cathay Pacific on flights from Amsterdammarker and London Heathrow to Hong Kongmarker, Japan Airlines on flights from Amsterdam to Tokyo Naritamarker and Royal Jordanian from Madrid to Ammanmarker.

Vueling Airlines and Clickair, are being merged together and will be integrated into Iberia Airlines.


In 2005, Iberia introduced its new Business Plus Class on its Airbus A340 aircraft.

On March 2009 Iberia announced that during the course of 2009-2011 it would renovate its economy class on all its planes as well as designing a new business class for its long haul planes.

In addition, Iberia is an aircraft maintenance company , servicing its fleet and those of another 48 companies, including some leading European airlines. Iberia is a supplier of aircraft handling services at all Spanish airports, its airline clients number more than 200.

Iberia was a founding partner in the computerised air ticket reservation system, Amadeus, with an 18.28% stake - this was sold in 2005. Iberia is also active as a tour operator through its Viva Tours and Tiempo Libre units, and with Cacesa, it supplies parcel shipment services.

Iberia Airlines makes use of e-tickets and encourages customers to print the boarding pass prior to their flight. Travellers with only carry-on baggage can go directly to the boarding gate. e-tickets sales accounted for 93% of all Iberia tickets sold in January 2006. In Spain identification of the traveller by means of an identity document or passport is mandatory for all airlines on all routes, including Spanish domestic ones.


In May 2008, Iberia Airlines confirmed it would resume flights to Asuncion and was considering re-starting flights to Japan (suspended in 2000) and Canada (1998) and expanding their Asian and North American networks. Destinations being considered are Shanghai, Hong Kongmarker, Mumbaimarker, Delhimarker, Dubaimarker, Tokyomarker, Montrealmarker, Torontomarker, Los Angelesmarker, and Dallas-Fort Worth.


Gate Gourmet provides Iberia's in-flight catering. Economy class passengers traveling within western Europe have a buy on board food program called "Tu Menú."


The Iberia fleet consists of the following aircraft as of 11 November 2008:

Iberia Airlines Fleet
Aircraft Total Orders Passengers
Airbus A319-100 22 0 132
Airbus A320-200 45 16 153
Airbus A321-200 19 0 174
Airbus A340-300 20 0 260
Airbus A340-600 12 10 352
Sub-total 118 26
Iberia Regional
ATR 72-500 5 0 68
ATR 72-600 0 10 70
Bombardier CRJ200 35 0 60
Bombardier CRJ900 11 9 90
Bombardier CRJ1000 0 35 100
Bombardier Dash 8 Q300 14 0 52
Sub-total 65 54
Total 183 80

In January 2009, the average age of the Iberia fleet was 7 years.

Iberia's livery is a Eurowhite scheme, composed of primarily white with orange and yellow accents.

Iberia's financial director Enrique Dupuy has said that the Airbus A380 aircraft could benefit Iberia's higher density routes such as Buenos Airesmarker, Miamimarker, Mexico Citymarker, Santiago de Chilemarker, and Bogotámarker. Alternatively however, Iberia has also left the door open for Boeing. Having already handled the Boeing 747, Iberia is also considering the newer 747-8 version for a similar purpose. If the plan goes smoothly, Iberia will have a fleet of 10-12 Airbus A380s or Boeing 747-8s before 2014.

Iberia has been evaluating the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350 as options to join its Airbus A340 fleet. This way Iberia hopes to reach their target of 40+ long haul planes in its fleet by 2011, with the rest arriving by 2014.. Iberia's Investment Director Angel Frances put the cost for 30 of these planes at €4.85 billion.

Incidents and accidents

10.28.1957, Madrid, Spain, Iberia Douglas DC-3. - casualties: 21/21

04.29.1959, Valdemeca, Spain, Iberia Douglas DC-3. - casualties: 28/28

10.12.1962 Carmona, Spain, Iberia Convair CV-440. - casualties: 18/18

03.31.1965, Tangiers, Morocco, Iberia Convair CV-440. - casualties: 50/53

05.05.1965, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. Lockheed L-1049G. - casualties: 30/49

11.04.1967, Sussex, England. Sud Aviation SE210 Caravelle. - casualties: 37/37

01.07.1972, Sierra de Atalayasa, Spain. Sud Aviation SE210 Caravelle. - casualties: 104/104

03.05.1973, La Trauche, France. McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32. - casualties: 68/68

12.07.1983, Madrid, Spain. Boeing 727-256. - casualties: 51/93

02.19.1985, Durango, Vizcaya, Spain. Boeing 727-256. - casualties: 148/148

On 9 November 2007 an Iberia A340-600 was badly damaged after sliding off the runway at Mariscal Sucre International Airportmarker. No injuries were reported. According to Airbus, the aircraft was written-off.

On 31 July 2008 an Iberia McDonnell Douglas MD-88, on flight IB3575 from Viennamarker to Madridmarker with 126 passengers and 6 crew, made an emergency landing after a burst tire was ingested by the engine. No injuries were reported.


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