Iberia Airlines has selected OR Tambo International as one of 12 global routes to which the newly unveiled Airbus A330-200, named “Johannesburgo” will fly.
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) says the launch is a sign of confidence in the country’s airline industry and that safety concerns at OR Tambo is decreasing.
Iberia will also be serving passenger’s that will be coming from South American countries.
Celia Muñoz, Iberia’s Head of Sales in EMEA and Asia, said: “Johannesburg is a long-standing destination linked to Iberia’s history and now one of our aircraft carries proudly its name wherever it flies to with the aim to promote the city as a tourist and business destination”.
ACSA says statistics show that over the past 12 months, from May 2017 to May 2018, Iberia Airlines has seen a 7.69 % year-on-year increase in air traffic movements as well as an 8% year on year increase in departing passengers.
“There is an 8% increase in departing passengers and there needed to be a business case for Iberia to launch the A330-200 to South Africa via OR Tambo International Airport. Essentially what we would like to see is an increase in tourism between the two countries between ourselves and Spain as a destination Johannesburg and Madrid in particular to access South America.
“Tourism plays a vital role, so we would like to see some further job creation as a consequence of Iberia now embedding the fact that the A330-200 is now part of their fleet to South Africa moving forward,” says OR International Airport Spokesperson, Leigh Gunkei-Keuler.
The aircraft “Johannesburgo” is currently flying to cities in Latin America (Havana, Medellin, Rio de Janeiro or Santo Domingo), the United States (Los Angeles and San Francisco), as well as to Johannesburg and Asia (Shanghai and Tokyo).
The “Johannesburgo” has 19 seats in Business and 269 in Economy class. On board, Iberia customers can enjoy the new long-haul cabins. Seats that unfold into 2m-long beds, all with direct access to the aisle, and a 15.4” touch screen are the main features of the Business class, while Economy seats are 46 cm wide and have individual 9” screens, as well as an adjustable headrest.
Passengers in both Business and Economy cabins can enjoy an extensive entertainment programme with some 70 new films every month, in different languages, 111 television series and documentaries, nearly 800 audio options, and 18 video games. There is a special entertainment channel for children. Wi-Fi, offered in both classes, uses the KU band, allowing a greater download speed.
Iberia resumed its operations from Johannesburg in August 2016 with three non-stop flights a week to Madrid. Iberia is the leading carrier on routes between Europe and Latin America and it flies to 131 destinations in 48 countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Middle East and Asia.
Iberia started flying in South Africa in 1969 but stopped because of the sanctions under apartheid that were imposed in South Africa. They came back in 1998 and stopped in 2012 but re launched.