Iberia Moves Toward Topping 2019 Capacity In Q1 2023

Credit: Airbus/David Velupillai

Spanish airline Iberia plans to operate 105% of its 2019 capacity in the first quarter of 2023, pointing to the arrival of new aircraft.

In the 2022 fourth quarter, Iberia plans to offer 95% of 2019 flights. For the winter season as a whole, from Oct. 29 to March 25, Iberia said its offer will match the network of flights and frequencies in place pre-COVID-19.

The carrier, which is part of the International Airlines Group (IAG)—along with British Airways, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Level—said that it has now reached the milestone of re-establishing its entire network of flights and destinations in Latin America. Nonstop flights to Caracas (CCS) in Venezuela and Rio de Janeiro (GIG) were the last two remaining destinations to be brought back. The carrier now offers 3X-weekly service to each.

Iberia is also increasing frequencies to other destinations in Latin America, meaning it will offer nearly 260 weekly flights to the region this winter, most of them daily, linking Europe with 18 destinations across 16 Latin American countries, the carrier said.

For the winter months, Iberia is increasing its US capacity up to 589,000 seats over the season, a 15% increase from 2019, with 21% more flights than in the winter before the pandemic, totaling around 2,000.

“The United States continues to gain prominence in Iberia’s network,” the airline said.

Iberia will move to Terminal 8 at New York Kennedy (JFK) in December, where it will join oneworld alliance partners American Airlines and British Airways.

Within Spain, Iberia is also increasing capacity. Its route between its Madrid (MAD) hub and Barcelona (BCN) will be operated by a larger capacity Airbus A320neo aircraft, with up to 15 daily flights each way. The flag carrier has taken delivery of a number of A320neos this year and now has 12 in service, Aviation Week Network Fleet Discovery database shows. Iberia will offer nearly 700,000 more seats between Spain’s largest cities this winter season than pre-pandemic.

In Paris, Iberia and Iberia Express combined will offer 60 weekly frequencies across the two main airports, Charles de Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY).

Iberia has also resumed its three Moroccan destinations: Casablanca (CMN), Marrakesh (RAK) and Tangier (TNG).

Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.