Updated: Jun 29, 2019
Expectations are high for Iberia. One of the oldest airlines in history has dramatically transformed over the past decade as it gradually integrated itself under the specific criteria of the International Airlines Group: service has become streamlined among the operators and the fleet restructuring proves to be consistent.
Although Iberia’s operations have always responded to its own singularities (i.e. being a strategic hub between Europe and Latin America), there has always been room for growth, and it seems Iberia is willing to realize it.
It is true that the group as a whole has reported weak figures for the first trimester of the year (profit fell to €70 million, 91.2% less than reported in the same period last year) citing rising fuel costs that have also hit its other European counterparts hard.
Iberia’s figures, on the contrary, show the greatest increase in profit, reaching €437 million (16.2% more), which once again demonstrates the growth path in which the carrier has been involved in, during recent years.
Forecasts also support the ambitious expansion plans that the airline has to keep the lead – just after British Airways – within the group: it expects to increase capacity 9% in 2019, compared to a 5.5% that Vueling hopes for, or a 6.5% that Aer Lingus ambitions.
It has taken a 180 degree turn from its South American network towards the east: routes to Shanghai and Tokyo were opened or reopened, and codeshares have been established with other airlines, especially with those that belong to the OneWorld alliance.
Also, a strong move from the holding has stressed its intention to reassure the strength that Iberia has shown recently - four A350’s originally destined for Aer Lingus are to be delivered to Iberia instead. This will, undoubtedly, transform the latter’s fleet scheme and refresh the actual one with more efficient wide-body aircraft. Simultaneously, new A320NEO’s are also being gradually introduced to the fleet.
But could Iberia lead other fields within the industry and set an example for the other airlines?
The answer is “yes”. There is always room for image improvement and Iberia is still lacking a good one. Being one of the most punctual airlines in the world is not enough, and in an ever growing market competition is higher than ever to keep up with consumer satisfaction. That’s why service is vital when consumers choose which airline to fly with.
For that matter, Iberia Líneas Aéreas de España is already envisioning an innovative reform, which intends to deliver the ultimate consumer experience on-board. From using new technologies, such as voice commerce (i.e. Alexa from Amazon), to personalized financing for national and some international flights, and offering VR glasses for Business Class passengers, the airline is setting the standards.