Marking the airlinesâ€™ continuous growth and international presence in South Florida, IBERIA announced the first ever direct flight from Miami to Barcelona yesterday during an exclusive VIP inauguration ceremony at which top executives from Spainâ€™s number one airline announced the new route from IBERIA, attended by Mayor Tomas Regalado, local dignitaries and the regionâ€™s top CEOs at The Mandarin Oriental hotel in downtown Miami.
The occasion was marked with a special Catalonian-themed evening of food and entertainment featuring some of Spainâ€™s most acclaimed maestros of cuisine. Emmy Award-winning international journalist, anchor and author, Marian de la Fuente, welcomed attendees, after which speeches were given by Manuel LÃ³pez Aguilar, Executive VP Commercial and Clients of IBERIA and JosÃ© MarÃa Alvarado, Country Manager for IBERIA USA and Canada.
One of Spainâ€™s top master chefs and the Michelin Star award-winning founder of Fonda Gaig in Barcelona, Carles Gaig, created a series of his own aesthetically pleasing signature classic and contemporary CatalÃ¡n dishes for attendees at the event.
The star of Antoni Bassasâ€™ weekly programme on Catalunya RÃ dio and Albert Omâ€™s El Club programme on TV3 in Spain, internationally acclaimed Chef Nandu Jubany also demonstrated his excellence in CatalÃ¡n cuisine.
Hailing as a graduate from the London Academy of Bartenders and from his Cocktail Academy in Lisbon, Portugese Master Bartender and Mixologist, Paulo Ramos, exhibited his acrobatic flair in the art of cocktail creation during the event.
Iberia now operates now three non-stop flights weekly to Barcelona on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Passengers coming from other U.S destinations, such as Dallas, Houston, Orlando and Tampa can connect to the new route via American Airlines. At Barcelona airport, travellers can link with Iberia Regional / Air Nostrum and Vueling flights to cities such as Bilbao, Majorca, Malaga and Valencia in Spain or Milan, Nice, Paris and Rome in Europe. Iberia expects to carry 53,000 passengers on this route in the first year of operation.
The non-stop Miami-Barcelona flight will be the second U.S route inaugurated by Iberia this week as the airline has also started flying this past Monday, March 28, between Los Angeles and Madrid. Iberia offers now three non-stop flights weekly from Los Angeles on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays â€“ with an additional Friday flight from July to September.
The aircraft used on these routes will be a 254-seat Airbus A-340/300, with a 36-seat Business Plus section, recently redesigned, that offers 2.20 meters of space for each passenger and seats that unfold into horizontal beds.
To promote the new Miami-Barcelona route , Iberia is awarding triple frequent flyer points for tickets acquired in iberia.com through May 31st. The 1,800 points obtained flying from Miami to Barcelona are enough to pay for three return Madrid-Barcelona shuttle flights, for two return trips between Madrid and Casablanca, or for one return flight between Madrid and Athens, Istanbul, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Berlin, or other cities in Europe.
Now Iberia operates 10 weekly flights from Miami to Spain: apart from this new Miami-Barcelona route, it flies daily from Miami to Madrid. Iberiaâ€™s operations in Miami began on August 3, 1972. These new routes, together with the overall capacity increase on its flights from Boston, Chicago and New York to the Spanish capital will consolidate the United States as Iberia’s most important long-haul market. In 2011 the airline will offer a total of 1,164,000 seats between the Spain and USA, representing a 13 per cent increase from 2010.
The new flights and the overall capacity increase are part of the joint business launched in October last year by Iberia, American Airlines and British Airways for routes over the North Atlantic. Customers of the three airlines have now more travel options available, with more frequencies, more destinations and better connections across their networks. The three airlinesâ€™ combined route network serves 433 destinations in 105 countries with almost 5,200 daily departures.
American Airlines and British Airways will also start new services as a consequence of the joint business. Beginning April 5th, American launches service from JFK to Budapest and on May 1st, it begins a new flight from Chicago to Helsinki. Also, British Airways will begin service from San Diego to London on June 2nd.
Photographs of the event