Iberia launched its new services between Madrid and Los Angeles today with 95% seat occupancy, and became the first Spanish airline to operate on this route.
The maiden flight took off in Madrid at 12:35 h, and is expected to land in Los Angeles at 16:15 local time, after 12 hours and 40 minutes in the air. The aircraft used is an Airbus A-340/300 registered as EC-KSE and named for the Spanish politician and woman’s rights campaigner Clara Campoamor. It can carry 254 passengers, 36 of them in the recently redesigned Business Plus section, where each passenger can now enjoy up to 2.2 meters of personal space, and a seat that unfolds into a totally flat bed, as well as exquisite Mediterranean cuisine and a selection of the finest Spanish wines, among many other features.
Rafael Sánchez-Lozano, Iberia’s CEO, greeted LA-bound passenger at Madrid-Barajas airport before take-off this morning, and said “starting today, the West Coast of the United States is closer to Spain. This new flight is not merely a major contribution to holiday travel in both directions, but will also bring Spanish and California businesses closer together. There is a great potential for trade between the two communities, and we are certain that the non-stop flight we are launching today will help to promote new exchanges. Indeed, the possibilities that are opened for Spanish companies to invest in the California economy are unlimited.”
Sánchez-Lozano also stressed that “this new flight to Los Angeles strengthens Iberia’s commitment to the Madrid airport, where we are growing strongly—since September we have added six new destinations reachable from Madrid: Oran in Algeria, Cordoba in Argentina, El Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza in Brazil, and now Los Angeles. In addition we are doubling the frequencies of some transatlantic flights. We now fly twice daily to Lima, Bogota and Mexico City, and we are increasing the number of flights to New York and to Boston.”
68,000 passengers in 2011
Iberia has scheduled three flights weekly to Los Angeles –on Monday, Wednesdays, and Saturdays– with an additional Friday flight in July-September.
The Spanish airline expects to carry some 68,000 passengers on the new flight to the Californian city in the first year of operation.
Triple Iberia Plus frequent flyer points
To promote the new flight to Los Angeles and the new non-stop Barcelona-Miami route, that will be inaugurated tomorrow, Iberia is awarding triple Iberia Plus frequent flyer points for tickets acquired through May 31st. The 1,800 points are enough to pay for three return Madrid-Barcelona shuttle flights, for two return trips between Madrid and Casablanca, or for one return flight between Madrid and Athens, Istanbul, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, or other cities in Europe.
From Los Angeles to another nine U.S. destinations
The non-stop Madrid-Los Angeles flights will open the door to nine new United States destinations, thanks to the code-sharing agreement between the Spanish flag carrier and American Airlines. The new destinations reachable from the Californian city are Honolulu, Hawaii; San Francisco, Santa Barbara, San Diego, San Jose, Fresno and Sacramento in California; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Phoenix, Arizona.
These new routes, together with the overall capacity increase on its flights from Boston, Chicago and New York to the Spanish capital will consolidate the United States as Iberia’s most important long-haul market. In 2011 the airline will offer a total of 1,164,000 seats between the Spain and USA, representing a 13 per cent increase from 2010.