Iberia has announced non-stop flights from Madrid to both Tokyo and Shanghai.
Luis Gallego, Iberia chairman, explained: “We have always wanted to be a global airline.
“With these routes to Tokyo and Shanghai, we take a step in that direction, while we bring closer our country to two economical and touristic powers such as Japan and China.”
Pending government approval, starting on October 18th, Iberia will operate three flights per week to Japan, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, for a total of some 90,000 seats per year.
These will be the only non-stop flights linking Japan with Spain, one of the most attractive touristic destinations for Japanese citizens, who fly to that country to experience its culture, gastronomy and artistic expressions such as flamenco.
From January to September 2015, the number of Japanese tourists visiting Spain grew by 27 per cent compared to the previous year.
The new route will also make travel easier for a growing number of Spanish tourists who would like to visit Japan because of its culture, natural heritage and technology.
Iberia will also commence non-stop flights from Madrid to Shanghai during the winter season 2016/2017, with three flights every week.
The airline has already started negotiations with Chinese authorities to operate the route.
The launch date will be announced once negotiations have been finalised and permits, as well as slots, have been granted.
Currently, there isn’t any no other non-stop route between Spain and Shanghai, a financial global centre and the busiest container port in the world.
Shanghai is also a very important business destination, where many Spanish and international companies are already based.
It is also a very attractive touristic destination, where modern skyscrapers and old colonial buildings coexist, and with a wide cultural and gastronomic offer.
On both routes Iberia will fly its most modern aircraft, the twin-engine, wide-bodied Airbus A330-200, carrying up to 288 passengers, 19 in Business and 269 in Economy.
The aircraft is equipped with Iberia’s newly designed long-haul cabins.
The two new routes will be Iberia’s first foothold in the Asian travel market.