Iberia


Iberia
   Although state-owned Iberia, the national airline of Spain, is one of the country's biggest companies, it was a significant loss-maker for some years. In 1995 it had an operating surplus of 25,117m pesetas but this became a loss of 61,084m pesetas after financial costs and other items were taken into account. Of its passenger income 25.2 percent was generated within Spain, 42.7 percent in the rest of Europe, and 32.1 percent in intercontinental flights. Iberia's fleet (excluding aircraft belonging to subsidiary companies), consists of some 113 aircraft, including twenty-five Boeing 727, seven 747, eight 757, eight Airbus A300, twenty-two Airbus A320, seven DC9, four DC 10 and twentyfour MD87. Its first Airbus A340 was delivered in March 1996, followed by seven more in the ensuing two years. A further ninety-three aircraft belong to the subsidiaries Aviaco, Viva Air and Binter, or are rented from other companies.
   Iberia has a number of wholly owned subsidiaries such as Binter Canarias, Binter Mediterráneo, Viva Air, an 83 percent shareholding in Aerolíneas Argentinas, a 45 percent shareholding in the Venezuelan airline Viasa, a 38 percent share-holding in the Chilean airline Ladeco, and a 33 percent shareholding in the Spanish airline Aviaco. It also owns or controls a number of cargo and catering companies. Iberia's route network is extensive, with around 100 destinations of its own rising to over 300 if those of its subsidiaries are included. It is the European airline with the largest number of destinations to Latin America and with the biggest network in Latin America itself. It also flies from Spain to most of the major cities of Europe, to North Africa, the Middle East, the USA, Japan, New Zealand, Australia and Equatorial Guinea, a total of forty-six countries. Iberia's average of daily flights is 850, with a carrying capacity of 90,000 seats. In 1997 it carried 24.4 million passengers.
   Iberia employs over 24,000 people, and its pilots are among the highest paid in the world. In the early 1990s, the management's attempt to stem the losses by reducing staff and by other cost-cutting measures resulted in poor industrial relations with consequent disruptions. The European Commission's authorization for an injection of capital of 87,000m pesetas in 1995, to be followed by a further 20,000m in 1997, allowed the company to fend off financial collapse and introduce a three-year productivity plan to prepare it for privatization. Results for 1997 showed a modest pre-tax profit of 16,091m pesetas. Part of the restructuring was to involve the sale of some of its subsidiaries (in particular Aerolíneas Argentinas). Better management, a more streamlined employment structure, and more aggressive marketing are likely to increase profitability after the severe losses of the early 1990s.
   See also: transport
   Further reading
   - Iberia (1998) Annual Report 1997, Madrid.
   C. A. LONGHURST

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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