In a move designed to reignite business travel, Spanish national flag carrier Iberia is increasing the number of flights between Madrid and Barcelona on its winter schedule. In a statement released on Friday, the Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD)-based airline said it was increasing flights between the Spanish capital and Barcelona by 50%.
In what Iberia calls an “Air Bridge” between Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD) and Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN), Iberia says it will offer 70 flights a week. The all-important connection between Spain’s two largest city’s will see up to 11 flights a day in each direction between 07:00 and 21:00.
Iberia is hoping to kick start business travel
In addition to the increased frequencies, Iberia says it is collaborating with Spanish airport operator Aena to recover several services associated with the route from November 10, 2021. Iberia wants to restart its special security and VIP room in Barcelona while renewing its VIP parking in Madrid.
Iberia says it is working diligently to kick start business travel now that most people in Spain are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Starting in November and throughout the entire winter, Iberia will offer between 65 and 68 flights a week on the route, with most flights scheduled between Monday and Thursday when demand is highest.
The airline says that offering more flights between the two cities will also allow its customers to transfer to other flights within Europe and long-haul destinations in the Americas and Asia.
Air Bridge flights will increase by 50% compared to 2020
The increase in flights represents a capacity increase of 50% compared to that same period a year earlier when demand was down due to the pandemic. Iberia says that increasing the number of flights shows its commitment to corporate business traffic in Spain.
From November 10, 2021, Iberia will reopen the counters, the security control, and the VIP lounge next to the boarding gates at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN). Called “Arrive and Fly,” Iberia customers flying between the two cities only need to be at the airport 20 minutes before the flight.
At Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suárez Airport (MAD), the special security control and counters for the Air Bridge have been in operation since the end of 2020. Iberia has also extended the opening hours of its Dalí Premium Lounge, from 06:00 to 23:00, and from October 18, it will reinstate its premium VIP parking service. In addition to the above features, Iberia Air Bridge customers also can change their flight on the Iberia App as many times as necessary at no cost.
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Train versus plane
The increase in flights between Barcelona and Madrid comes as the COP26 climate conference prepares to get underway in Glasgow. The flights between Barcelona and Madrid are big money makers for Iberia. They are coming under pressure from activists who say taking the train between the two cities is less polluting than flying.
While a flight takes roughly an hour, you still need to get from the city center to the airports, located on the outskirts. Once at the airport, you also have to go through security checks before boarding the plane. Meanwhile, the high-speed Renfe train takes people from the city center to the city center in around two and a half hours and has minimal security checks.
In other European countries where an alternative is available, short-haul routes are being eliminated in favor of train travel, as we have seen in France and Austria. Could the same thing happen in Spain? It remains to be seen, but Barcelona’s government is already talking about scrapping flights between the two cities.
What do you think about Iberia’s decision to increase frequencies on the route? Please tell us your thoughts on the matter in the comments.