Iberia Express: Everything You Need To Know About The Subsidiary

Not to be confused with Air Nostrum, which operates as a franchisee of Iberia providing domestic flights within…

Iberia Express: Everything You Need To Know About The Subsidiary

Not to be confused with Air Nostrum, which operates as a franchisee of Iberia providing domestic flights within Spain, Iberia express is a subsidiary of the Spanish national flag carrier. Based at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD), Iberia Express is a Spanish low-cost airline owned by Iberia, which operates short- and medium-haul routes from its parent airline’s hub in the Spanish capital.

Iberia Express is an LCC based in Madrid. Photo: Getty Images

Iberia’s owners, the International Airlines Group (IAG), came up with the idea of creating Iberia Express in 2011. The aim was to develop a low-cost branch of Iberia whose aircraft could feed Iberias’ long-haul network with flights from short and medium-haul routes in Europe. The plan was to use the aircraft on unprofitable routes hoping that the low-cost model could be more efficient.

Iberia had competition from low-cost airlines

When launching the new airline Iberia and IAG said it is the only way to make the loss-making Spanish unit profitable. Faced with increasing competition from Ryanair and easyJet, IAG planned to operate the airline in a similar fashion.

When Iberia Express launched on March 25, 2012, it shared its principal office with Iberia in Madrid and had a fleet of four Airbus A320 aircraft. However, unique to Iberia Express was that it offered business class seating, something no other European LCC did not.

Iberia pilots were not happy

As you can imagine, this did not go down well with the pilots already working for Iberia. In their minds, it was seen as a plot to replace them with lower-paid workers. In late December 2011, due to concerns over potential job losses caused by the creation of Iberia Express, the airlines’ pilots union SEPLA called for a series of 30 one-day strikes.

For its part, SEPLA said it was willing to sit down with Iberia to discuss the situation and that it had a solution to the conflict. The pilots union proposed that it could save Iberia 90 million euros a year by lowering salaries for new employees.

Iberia Express routes
Iberia Express flies medium and short-haul routes in Europe from Madrid. Image Iberia Express

When speaking with news wire service Reuters about its plan, a spokesperson for SEPLA said:

“That is triple the amount that the company has said Iberia Express would save a year.”

“The government is aware of that plan. We are ready to negotiate with whoever, but the company hasn’t called us for 20 days.”

At the time, SEPLA also called on Iberia to overhaul the salaries of its directors, which is perhaps why its proposal fell on deaf ears.

Iberia Express
Iberia Express is the number one carrier between Madrid and the Canary Islands. Photo: Iberia Express

After a series of one-day strikes estimated to cost Iberia 36 million euros, SEPLA called off the strike in March 2012. The breakthrough came when SEPLA agreed to the Employment and Social Security Ministries providing a mediator.

Iberia Express has a fleet of 19 aircraft

Almost ten years later, Iberia Express has grown to become the fourth leading airline at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD). Iberia Express is also the number one carrier between Madrid and the Canary Islands. According to the aviation data and statistics website, ch-aviation Iberia Express has a fleet of 19 aircraft comprising the following planes:

  • 11 x Airbus A320-200s
  • 4 x Airbus A321-200s
  • 4 x Airbus A321neos

Have you ever flown with Iberia Express? If so, please tell us what you think of them in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Back Again: Miami Regains Its Only Link To Africa

Miami has regained its sole non-stop passenger route to Africa, a continent not especially associated with the South…

Back Again: Miami Regains Its Only Link To Africa

Miami has regained its sole non-stop passenger route to Africa, a continent not especially associated with the South Florida area. Resuming on May 13th will be Royal Air Maroc from Casablanca, returning after an absence of 26 months because of the pandemic. Miami will be one of four destinations in the US and Canada served by the Moroccan flag carrier.

The B787-8 will operate from Casablanca to Miami. Photo: Dylan Agbagni via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Royal Air Maroc initially operated the 3,755 nautical mile link from its Casablanca hub to Miami in April 2019. Because of the pandemic, the route lasted until March 2020, but it is now on sale once again.

Initially operating twice-weekly on Fridays and Sundays, it’ll jump to three – its original frequency in 2019 – in June with the addition of a Wednesday service. Miami will be Royal Air Maroc’s longest route, beating Washington Dulles by 427nm. It has the following schedule (all times are local).

  • AT204: Casablanca-Miami, 16:30-20:25
  • AT205: Miami-Casablanca-Miami, 22:25-11:40+1 (the next day)

The 274-seat B787-8 will serve Florida, of which Royal Air Maroc now has five, ch-aviation.com shows, with an average age of 5.7 years. These have 18 fully lie-flat business seats and 256 in economy. The first example, CN-RGB, was delivered on New Year’s Eve 2014. The smaller B787 variant is suited to thinner routes.

Royal Air Maroc to the US and Canada
Royal Air Maroc’s North America network in 2022 will comprise four destinations. Image: GCMap.

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Royal Air Maroc to Miami

Between April 2019 and March 2020, Royal Air Maroc carried 45,203 round-trip passengers to/from Miami, according to the USA’s Department of Transportation data. As the route was so new, its seat load factor was predictably low at 53.5%.

Of course, it can take a while to develop a long-haul route to achieve projected performance, if indeed it does. This 53.5% included the early impact of the pandemic, with pre-pandemic July and August 2019 achieving nearly 80%. Remember, SLF is just one measurement.

Royal Air Maroc Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner CN-RGX (2)
When Miami was served previously, the larger B787-9 also appeared. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

Over half of passengers were point-to-point

Booking data shows that over half of all passengers (~29,000; 53%) flew between Miami and Casablanca only and didn’t connect anywhere. When a new non-stop service begins, demand should grow meaningfully whether it is by a full-service airline like Royal Air Maroc and, most notably of course, if it involves a low-cost carrier and lower fares.

Demand stimulation is ordinarily vital in route development, and it will be much more significant in leisure markets or those involving visiting friends and relatives. The entry of Royal Air Maroc grew Miami P2P traffic by 540% versus the year before, driven, in part, by the Moroccan community in Miami and wider Florida. Hence much higher peak summer loads.

Royal Air Maroc Miami
Between April 2019 and March 2020, 98% of Royal Air Maroc’s Miami passengers were P2P and over Casablanca. This map shows the top-10 transit markets and how well-placed Morocco is for southern Europe. Image: GCMap.

But connections over Casablanca were key too

It wasn’t just point-to-point demand. Over 24,700 passengers (45%) transited over the carrier’s Casablanca hub mainly to/from Europe and parts of Africa. Booking data reveals that Miami to France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Tunisia were the five largest country markets, with Miami to Tunis, Lisbon, Cairo, Porto, and Madrid the five biggest origins and destinations.

Unsurprisingly, very few passengers connected to American Airlines’ extensive services over Miami. While this is unlikely to change meaningfully, in late 2019, the pair signed a limited reciprocal codeshare agreement, which may evolve to be slightly more extensive.

Have you flown Royal Air Maroc to/from the US? Share your experiences in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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