Iberia Signs Codeshare Agreement With Chinese Spring Airlines

Spanish flag carrier Iberia has signed a codeshare agreement with Chinese LCC Spring Airlines. The codeshare adds four destinations, connecting Madrid with Chongqing, Shenyang, Dalian and Changchun via Shanghai.

Iberia jet on taxiway
Iberia announces a codeshare agreement with Spring Airlines. Photo: Iberia

The codeshare allows Iberia to add four new Chinese destinations to its manifest from December 1st. In return, Spring will codeshare on Iberia’s thrice-weekly Shanghai-Madrid service, according to World Airline News.

The agreement forms part of Iberia’s drive to expand within the Asian market, something it has been trying to do since 2016. In October of that year, the Oneworld alliance member introduced a thrice-weekly service between Madrid and Tokyo. Madrid to Shanghai followed shortly afterward.

The recent agreement allows customers of both airlines to enjoy the benefits of a one-ticket journey and a greater choice of flights and destinations.

We have contacted Iberia for further comment.

Iberia in Asia

Iberia only recently (October 23rd) set up a codeshare treaty with Hainan Airlines. By doing so it opened up six routes to Spanish fliers via Shanghai: Haikou, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shenzhen and Xi’an.

With this latest move Iberia has added a total of 10 Chinese destinations to its manifest.

Spring Airlines jet on ground
Iberia views agreements such as the one with Spring as key to its Far East success. Photo: lasta29 via Flickr

Spring Airlines boss Wang Zhijie told ATW, “It is important to have codeshare cooperation with Iberia. This cooperation not only enables Iberia to add popular destinations in China, but also makes Spring Airlines’ route network reach Europe.”

The 2016 inauguration of routes to Tokyo and Shanghai represented Iberia’s first bridgehead to the Asian market. Its network of 26 long-haul flights was previously dominated by Latin American destinations.

The airline’s decision to move east three years ago was opportune. Iberia’s restructuring and transformation finally allowed it to soar, and an increase in the number of Asian tourists to Spain meant that Asia was no longer considered a bugbear.

The continent now presents a glut of routes that are profitable and sustainable.

The Spanish carrier deployed its Airbus A330-200s on these first two routes, configured for 19 Business and 269 Economy seats. Spring deploys an A320neo for its Shanghai to Chongqing route, and an A320-200 for Shenyang, Dalian and Changchun.

Codeshare expansion

With Iberia’s combining the fruits of Hainan’s codeshare with Spring’s, travelers can now fly “non-stop” to ten new Chinese cities.

Correspondingly – according to ATW – Hainan Airlines is adding its flight code to 20 Iberia destinations via Madrid:

  • Spain: Barcelona, Valencia, Majorca, Malaga, Seville, Gran Canaria, La Coruña, Bilbao, Vigo, Tenerife, Pamplona, Jerez, Asturias, Santiago, Lanzarote, Almeria
  • Italy: Turin, Milan, Bologna
  • Portugal: Porto
Iberia jet on ground at night
The recent agreements with Hainan and Spring open up 10 news destinations for Iberia customers. Photo: Iberia

Of the latest codeshare, Iberia’s Network Development Officer Maria José López Solas is enthusiastic. “Thanks to Spring Airlines we’re going to be able to reach more destinations in China and offer our customers more options and a better product,” she told Aviation 24.

We already have an agreement with Spring whereby our technical crews can fly temporarily on their aircraft, and this is another step forward.”

The latest agreements stand Iberia in good stead for future expansion into the Asian tourism market. Solid passenger numbers on current stopover passages are seen throughout Thailand, India and the Philippines. LCCs of those countries may be next to be dragooned by the red and yellow Don Juan.

At the very least, the airline must surely be tempted by Manila, given the city’s colonial past and rich Spanish heritage.

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