Iberia is to enhance its Madrid-Barcelona shuttle service later this year, with more frequencies and the ability to reserve tickets online.

Known as the Puente Aereo or ‘Air Bridge’, the Iberia-operated service currently offers 16 frequencies each week day, but this will rise to 26 (13 at the weekend) from July, when a new agreement sees Iberia and Vueling jointly operate the shuttle.

Flights will operate between 0630 and 2145, with services every 15 or 30 minutes during peak times, and every hour during the rest of the day.

Under the new agreement customers on all flights will be able to earn Avios through the Iberia Plus loyalty programme, regardless of which airline they fly with.

Passengers will also be able to make flight reservations online, in addition to the existing walk-on and pre-paid open ticket options. Iberia says that this new enhancement will mean “customers are assured of space in the flight in the seats they have selected, and there will be full flexibility for changing reserved flights one or more times without any penalty”.

From July customers will be able to purchase tickets for the shuttle service at iberia.com or through the Iberia app, as well as make seat selections, change flights and access boarding passes.

Those passengers who don’t check in for their flights online will be able to do so at the dedicated Air Shuttle area within the airports at Madrid and Barcelona, up to 15 minutes before their flight.

Commenting on the news Marco Sansavini, Iberia’s chief commercial officer, said:

“These changes are aimed at meeting customers’ demands and expectations.

“We’re keeping all the good bits of the shuttle service, streamlining the walk-on service, and increasing the frequency of flights, and improving the flight schedule, while adding a seat selection option for customers.

“The joint operation of the two IAG airlines allows us to offer an excellent proposal to our customers.”

The one hour and 15 minute Puente Aereo service competes with the high-speed Ave rail route between Madrid and Barcelona, which has a journey time of around two and a half hours.

iberia.com, vueling.com