With the breaking news that Air Europa has been bought by IAG (adding yet another airline to their ranks), an interesting puzzle has been raised. Will Air Europe remain in the SkyTeam alliance? Or will they be quickly swapped over to IAG’s Oneworld?
What are the details?
In case you missed it, earlier today IAG acquired Air Europa for one billion Euros. Specifically, IAG directed the Spanish flag carrier Iberia to make the purchase and acquire its second subsidiary Spanish airline (after Vueling). This would be the sixth airline to be part of IAG, who already owns British Airways, Iberia, Vueling, Aer Lingus, and LEVEL.
Air Europa has a fleet of 46 aircraft:
- Eight Airbus A330-200s
- Two Airbus A330-300s
- 20 Boeing 737-800s
- Eight Boeing 787-8s
- Five Boeing 787-9s
Like our friend Ural Airlines from earlier today, Air Europa also has 22 Boeing 737 MAX 8s on order.
The airline mostly flies between Spain and international destinations such as Morroco, North and South America, within Spain domestically and some routes to Europe. They are the third-largest airline in Spain after its two IAG rivals, Iberia and Vueling.
The deal to acquire the company must first be cleared by government officials but, if approved, IAG will own the lion’s share of Spanish air transport.
What changes will they make?
The big question over this acquisition is what IAG will change. The group has said that it won’t be touching the branding or route planning for now (although you would hope they would adjust any routes that are too competitive with Iberia right away). Particular routes that are of interest to IAG and their alliance, oneworld, are the South America routes stretching from Air Europa’s hub in Madrid.
As rightly pointed out in our earlier article:
“When Delta recently announced a partial acquisition of LATAM, the Oneworld alliance’s only South American carrier announced its withdrawal due to a conflict of interests.”
With no South American carrier now part of oneworld, Air Europa is well set to be the new link into the South American continent. However… they are already a part of Skyteam.
What about Skyteam?
Skyteam, one of the big three alliances, is controlled by IAG’s rival Air France-KLM and Delta. As Delta has ‘stolen’ away LATAM, it is likely that in a quid pro quo move, IAG will ask Air Europa to leave the alliance.
This will be a little frustrating for some as many of the carriers’ routes are set up well with alliance partners (such as South American carrier Aeromexico) and having your points suddenly no longer being useable on a range of airlines is a little startling.
However, perhaps its the start of something special and we will see Air Europa joining oneworld with open arms, and those with loyalty points now able to experience a huge range of new airline options.
What do you think? Will you be flying Air Europa soon? Let us know in the comments.