Iberia begins a new era at Barcelona’s airport
Today Iberia unveiled its colossal reparation hangar, able to host the giant A-380 airplane. In addition, after 5 years of decreasing its flights from Barcelona, especially at an international level, Iberia announced that it will operate direct flights linking Sao Paulo and Miami with the Catalan capital.
El Prat del Llobregat (ACN).- After 5 years of reducing its presence in the Catalan capital\u2019s airport to concentrate efforts in Madrid, Iberia seems to be interested in Barcelona\u2019s airport again. After its merger with British Airways, Iberia seems to be keener to diversify its routes and contribute to creating an intercontinental hub in Barcelona. In addition, its decision represents an important contribution to building an aeronautic pole in Barcelona. Today Iberia unveiled an impressive hangar to repair up to 3 medium-sized aircrafts (such as the Boeing 757) or 2 large ones at the same time. The hangar can also host the world\u2019s giant A-380. In addition, clients may already buy tickets for new spring routes linking Barcelona to Miami (US) and Sao Paulo (Brazil) through the Iberia website. The Catalan political and business class are celebrating Iberia\u2019s new direction.
Iberia made 2 important and symbolic steps towards in reoccupying a leading position in Barcelona\u2019s airport and contributing to transforming it into an intercontinental hub today. A 40-metre high hangar hosted its first aircraft, an Airbus 340. This maintenance hangar is essential in making Barcelona\u2019s airport and the entire area an attraction pole for the aeronautic industry, which already has the aeronautics college next to Barcelona\u2019s airport. The hangar is the largest and tallest in Spain, and the only one to be able to host the A-380. It is the second reparation hangar in Spain owned by Iberia, which is the 9th company in repairing aircrafts in the world. Its cost is 24 million euros, which have been paid for by Iberia (75%) and the Consorci de la Zona Franca (25%), a public-private consortium that promotes business in the Barcelona area. The hangar will gradually start to be operative. It will host between 150 and 200 technicians.
Antonio Vázquez, President of Iberia, stated, referring to the hangar, \u201CIt is a milestone, the first stone of an industry that was almost non-existent in Barcelona until now\u201D. This aeronautic industry is a strategic wager by Barcelona and surrounding cities, such as El Prat del Llobregat, l\u2019Hospitalet and Viladecans. The Polytechnics University of Catalonia has a campus close to the airport with an aeronautics studies faculty. In addition, an aeronautic city is being built around the airport, combining services and industry, coinciding with the airport\u2019s recent enlargement. After the enlargement of Barcelona\u2019s airport, the priority is to attract continental flights.
However, in the past Iberia did not contribute to this objective when 5 years ago it decided to decrease significantly its presence in Barcelona\u2019s airport. Iberia reduced its international flights to almost 0 and decreased the number of domestic flights. In addition, it created a low cost company, Clickair, which recently merged with Vueling, to operate its international flights. Its objective was to make Barcelona its low cost platform and Madrid its intercontinental hub. After merging with British Airways, the strategy seems to have changed. The Catalan Minister for Public Works, Joaquim Nadal, is celebrating this new direction.
Iberia will start operating 2 flights linking Barcelona with North and South America. From the end of March 2011, a direct flight to Sao Paulo and another one to Miami will operate 3 times a week with the Catalan capital. It represents a small step but a significant change in relation to Iberia\u2019s previous strategy.