This post is perhaps for students of aviation rather than the travelling public at large, but it is something worth noting in any event.
We have written much in recent years about British Airways’ International Airlines Group (“IAG”) sibling Iberia, and the wildly divergent financial performance of the two airlines since the formation of IAG four years ago in 2011.
Since Iberia started to report very heavy losses in 2012, IAG has taken a number of steps to improve the performance of Iberia.
This has included a complete overhaul of its senior management by a new CEO and (after bitter and unedifying industrial action with some rather unpleasant anti-British sentiment) reaching new collective agreements with its pilots and other staff working groups.
Ever since the marriage of BA and Iberia a little under four years ago, we have often wondered why Iberia has not taken advantage of BA’s distribution and marketing to operate more flights from UK airports to its Madrid hub.
There have been short-lived flights from Glasgow to Madrid, but little more. Now, as part of a significant expansion of Iberia’s short-haul network (which includes the launch of flights from Manchester and Edinburgh to Madrid), Iberia is to launch twice daily flights from London Gatwick to Madrid from Sunday 29 March 2015.
Flight IB3715 Depart London Gatwick 10:40 Arrive Madrid 13:55
Flight IB3717 Depart London Gatwick 19:35 Arrive Madrid 22:50
Flight IB3714 Depart Madrid 08:40 Arrive London Gatwick 10:00
Flight IB3716 Depart Madrid 17:45 Arrive London Gatwick 19:00
British Airways has today announced it is to launch a twice daily service from London Heathrow to Bilbao in the Basque region of Northern Spain.
Bilbao is currently served from London Heathrow by BA’s IAG sibling Vueling. It will move its four weekly flights to London Gatwick.
Flights launch on 29 March 2015.
BA’s flights will initially operate from Heathrow Terminal 1 and will move to Terminal 3 on 30 June 2015.
Flight BA466 London Heathrow – Bilbao Depart 09:20 Arrive 12:20
Flight BA468 London Heathrow – Bilbao Depart 16:05 Arrive 19:05
Flight BA467 Bilbao – London Heathrow Depart 13:05 Arrive 14:00
Flight BA469 Bilbao – London Heathrow Depart 19:40 Arrive 20:35
Whilst a popular leisure destination in its own right (Bilbao is of course home to a Guggenheim museum) we understand the service has been operated to attract corporate clients in the area to BA’s London network and cargo traffic from the port of Bilbao.
The offer by International Airlines Group to acquire the 54% of Vueling’s shares that it does not already own expired on Friday 19 April. The airline group initially made an offer priced at €7.00 per share which Vueling management chose not to recommend. IAG subsequently increased its offer to €9.25 per share. However, the minimum acceptance level was reduced to just 4.16% of Vueling’s capital to leave IAG with at least overall control of Vueling, if not 100% ownership.
Assuming the transaction completes this will be the second airline acquired by IAG since its formation in 2011 and the third member airline of the group (the first acquisition, bmi, being subsumed into British Airways).
So why is IAG so interested in Vueling and what does it have planned for the airline?