Iberia will resume flights to Venezuela, which have been suspended since the Covid-19 pandemic was declared in early 2020, from 30 October. The airline will operate three weekly flights on the Madrid-Caracas route.
The flights will be operated by Airbus A350-900 aircraft, which have a capacity for 28 passengers in business class and 293 in economy, so there will be a supply of 1,926 seats per week. This represents an increase of more than 10% over the same capacity previously on flights between the capitals of Spain and Venezuela.
The Airbus A350-900s will operate until the end of January, when the route will revert to Airbus A330s, which have a smaller capacity.
During the pandemic, the regime of Nicolás Maduro adopted a series of restrictions that meant that the only company authorised to operate humanitarian flights for repatriations with Spain was Plus Ultra. The measure coincided with the Spanish government’s decision to grant a 53 million euro bailout to Plus Ultra, something that provoked great controversy in Spain.
In February 2021, Spain demanded that Venezuela put an end to this restriction, which affected Iberia and Air Europa, after the Bolivarian authorities authorised commercial flights to countries such as Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Turkey and Bolivia.
Last autumn Maduro ended Plus Ultra’s monopoly and at the end of January this year authorised regular flights to Spain, so that Air Europa and Iberia can now operate between Madrid and Caracas again.
According to Iberia, the company will also offer new flights to other destinations in Latin America and the United States starting this autumn. Iberia expects to offer flights to Rio de Janeiro and to increase the number of flights to Havana from three to five a week. In addition, the Guatemala – El Salvador route will increase from five to seven weekly frequencies, and in Quito, six weekly flights will be consolidated, to which another three will be added with Guayaquil.
“Mexico continues to be the market with the greatest offer, along with Bogotá and Buenos Aires, where Iberia will consolidate its two daily flights this winter season,” Iberia said.
“In Santiago de Chile, Lima and Sao Paulo will continue with a daily flight, as will San José, Costa Rica, which will also increase from six to seven weekly frequencies. Montevideo and Panama will have six weekly flights and Puerto Rico will have four operations throughout the winter,” the airline added.
In the United States, the main novelty will be the extension of the Dallas operation. “On this route, Iberia has introduced the operation with Airbus A330, which will allow its customers to enjoy its entire product: Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabin”.
Other growth targets include New York, Miami, Milan, Rome, Geneva, Barcelona, Bilbao, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.