Iberia to launch short-haul subsidiary

7 Oct 2011 by BusinessTraveller

BA’s merger partner is to launch Iberia Express – a subsidiary serving short and medium-haul routes from Madrid.

The new carrier is set to commence operations next summer, and will offer economy and business class seating “at competitive fares”.

The airline’s fleet will be sourced from existing Iberia aircraft, launching initially with four A320s rising to 13 aircraft by the end of next year.

Specific routes have yet to be announced, but Iberia says the subsidiary will offer both direct traffic and transfer feed onto Iberia’s long-haul network.

The Spanish carrier will also hope the move will help it compete with low-cost carriers including Easyjet and Ryanair, which have established bases at Madrid and Barcelona airports in recent years.

Iberia said that the move “will not modify the existing relationships with Vueling and Air Nostrum”.

It has a 45 per cent stake in low-cost carrier Vueling, which is based in Barcelona and serves routes throughout Spain and Europe, while Air Nostrum has its headquarters in Valencia and operates as an Iberia franchisee.

In recent months Air Nostrum has announced new routes to the UK, including Madrid to Glasgow (see online news July 19), and Madrid to Manchester (see online news August 16).

The move by Iberia comes as Easyjet has announced plans to increase frequencies on its Gatwick-Barcelona route to six-times daily (click here for more details).

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Report by Mark Caswell

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