Iberia will launch its subsidiary Iberia Express this weekend, designed to “restore profitability to short and medium-haul routes”.
The carrier will operate A320 aircraft to 17 routes this summer, including international flights to Amsterdam, Dublin, Riga, Mikonos, Naples and Riga, and domestic routes to Alicante, Fuerteventura, Granada, Ibiza, Lanzarote, Malaga, Minorca, Palma, Santiago de Compostella, Seville and Vigo.
The first routes to Palma, Alicante, Malaga and Seville will launch this weekend, with other destinations launching gradually over the next few months (Dublin for instance will launch in June, with Amsterdam following in September).
The carrier says that domestic routes will be available from €25 one way, with CEO Luis Gallego stating that “the containment of costs will allow Iberia Express to grow and compete with the low-cost operators”.
The subsidiary will be managed independently, but will use Iberia’s services include maintenance facilities.
The carrier's A320 aircraft will offer a two-class economy and business product, with leather-upholstered Recaro seating and the middle seat being kept free in business class.
Premium passengers will also have access to Iberia’s executive lounges, and passengers will be able to earn points within the Iberia Plus loyalty scheme.
In a statement the carrier said that “Iberia Express customers can check in on line for their flights, download boarding passes onto mobile devices, print out luggage labels at the self check-in machines, obtain fast-track luggage check-in, get flight information via SMS, and connect to the Internet in VIP lounges”.
Earlier this week Oneworld announced that Iberia Express would become an affiliate member when it launches services this weekend.
The launch of Iberia Express has been dogged by strikes by Iberia pilots who are members of the Spanish union Sepla, with the union arguing that the creation of the low-cost carrier contravenes agreements made with Iberia during the merger of the Spanish airlines with British Airways.
The union recently agreed to cancel 24 days of strikes which had been due to take place over the Easter holiday period, after the Spanish government agreed to appoint a mediator to try and resolve the issue.
The Iberia Express website currently only shows a countdown clock, along with details for those looking for jobs as pilots and cabin crew.
Report by Mark Caswell