In 2002, Iberia celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding on June 27, 1927 when the airline began scheduled services.
During those 75 years nearly 500 million people have flown with Iberia, placing the company among the five largest European airlines, and making Iberia the leader on routes connecting Spain with the rest of Europe, and Europe with Latin America.
In 1946, it became the first European airline to fly to South America and, in 1974, it launched Europe's first walk-on shuttle service, linking Madrid and Barcelona. That same year it established the Serviberia telephone information service, the precursor of today's popular call centres, as well as the 'Red Jackets', uniformed ground staff with the mission of providing special service to customers and to resolve any problems that might arise.
The year 2001 was a watershed year for Iberia, when privatization was completed and Iberia shares were listed on stock exchanges. Thus Spain's flag carrier, which was a public sector enterprise for most of its history, regained its earlier status as a private company.
Today Iberia is more than an airline. It is an international transportation group, operating in about 100 airports in 40 countries, employing more than 25,000 people.
The Iberia Group encompasses the Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum franchise. In addition to transporting passengers and freight, Iberia carries out many related activities, such as aircraft maintenance, handling in airports, IT systems, in-flight catering, and holiday packages. Iberia is ao member of the oneworld airline Alliance.
Today Iberia Group airlines fly to 97 destinations in 40 countries. Via code-sharing arrangements with other companies, it offers flights to another 60 destinations in 25 countries. With a fleet of almost 200 aircraft, it makes about 1,000 flights each day. In 2002, Iberia carried 28 million passengers and 210,000 tons of freight.
In addition, Iberia is a qualified aircraft maintenance company, servicing its own fleet and those of another 48 companies, including some leading European airlines. Iberia is the leading supplier of handling services (assistance to aircraft and passengers) at all Spanish airports, its airline clients number more than 200.
Iberia is also a founding partner in the world's leading computerized air ticket reservation system, Amadeus, in which it holds an 18,28% stake. In partnership with Gate Gourmet, a leading airline catering company, it operates Iberswiss, which prepares more than 14 million meal trays each year. Iberia is also active as a tour operator through its Viva Tours and Tiempo Libre units, and with Cacesa it supplies express parcel shipment services.
Other facts of interest