Iberia resumes direct flight from Johannesburg to MadridMTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBUR, (CAJ News) AFTER a four-year hiatus prompted by the need to restructure its operations, Iberia, the rejuvenated Spanish flag carrier, has resumed its Johannesburg-Madrid route linking South Africa and Spain, after a four year absence.
Marco Sansavini, Iberia’s Chief Commercial Officer, says Iberia returns to South Africa as a “renewed airline, more efficient, with new aircraft, new long-haul cabins, and new services.”
This will be the only non-stop flight between South Africa and Spain.
“This is the new Iberia. It’s a great honour to be back,” said Sansavini following the airline’s return to South African skies with a sold-out flight starting at R6 910 (including taxes and surcharges).
“We needed a profound restructuring of our operations. Our flights would be full but that wouldn’t translate to profitability, which is a paradox in the airline industry.”
The restructuring culminated in reduced labour costs after a quarter of staff resulting in 4 500 employees- voluntarily leaving the company.
In recent years, Iberia has also resumed services to more than 20 destinations around the world.
Sansavini is confident the route to Johannesburg will be lucrative.
“The new Iberia is back, more efficient and offering a better service,” he said.
“We are confident this route is going to be viable. South Africa has a nice mixture of business and leisure. Our South African customers can come to Madrid and avail themselves of the good connections to all our Spanish, European, and American destinations.”
Sansavini points out South Africa’s tourism industry and subsequently, tourism, are set to benefit with the resumption of the route between Johannesburg and Madrid, with inbound traffic set to outstrip outbound traffic.
Meanwhile, Spanish Ambassador to South Africa, Juan Sell, said the resumption of the flight would strengthen relations between the two countries.
There are some 150 Spanish companies operating in South Africa, employing over 12 000 people.
“I am delighted with Iberia’s return to South Africa and their turnaround. They had to be back on their feet before they were back in the country,” said the envoy.
“There are over 100 Spain companies operating here, which highlights the closeness of the two countries. Overall, we have cordial relations with the African continent.”
The Spanish airline is flying business and economy class three times a week between Johannesburg and Madrid.
Iberia and Comair offer flights under code sharing to other destinations in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
– CAJ News
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