The president of Iberia, Javier Sánchez-Prieto, said on Tuesday that the EU competition authorities may see concentration on a couple of routes in the Balearic Islands and others in the Canary Islands following the purchase of Air Europa by International Airlines Group, the holding company to which it belongs.
At the Wake Up conference organised by El Español, Sánchez-Prieto explained that despite this, the company’s commitment to the two archipelagos is “total” and the operation will improve connectivity.
Iberia’s top executive added that “there may be problems” of competition also on some routes to Latin America, although not in the first cities.
The EU competition authorities have to analyse the purchase of the entire capital of Globalia’s airline by IAG (to which British Airways, Vueling, Aer Lingus and Level also belong), on which routes competition may be damaged and agree with the group the transfer of these routes to other operators (“remedies” in English terminology).
For the Spanish-British group, the challenge is to demonstrate to competition authorities and public opinion that “with the right remedies, prices will remain competitive”, he said.
The integration of Air Europa is not about synergies to reduce capacity, but to strengthen the group and the Madrid hub, according to the Iberia president, who added that employment “is going to be reasonably maintained”.
RESULTS ABOVE 2019 IN 2025
Sánchez-Prieto explained that by 2025 the company’s results will be above those of 2019, a pre-pandemic year and record earnings for Iberia.
This year the capacity offered (seats per kilometre) will rise between 3 and 5% above that year, with supply increases of 15% in the United States and growth also in its usual destinations in Latin America.
After recording operating profits of 382 million euros in 2022, this year the forecast is to “consolidate” this situation and continue investing in the fleet (11 new aircraft after the 15 in 2022), in order to exceed the historic results of 2019 in 2025.
“For now” they do not see any impact of macroeconomic uncertainties and rising inflation on consumption, as shown by the inflows of reserves, which remain “robust”.