Iberia is seeking to join fellow oneworld members British Airways (BA), Finnair and Japan Airlines (JAL) in their joint venture (JV).
BA and JAL started an antitrust-immunized JV to coordinate Europe-Japan flights in 2012 and Finnair joined the JV in 2014. Under the JV, the airlines jointly coordinate schedules and fares and share revenue on services between the European Union and Japan. Iberia joining the JV is subject to regulatory approval.
JAL has applied to the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to grant antitrust immunity to Iberia/JAL coordination.
Iberia is set to launch 3X-weeky Madrid-Tokyo Narita flights on October 18, with plans to increase the number of flights in the future. Iberia will operate the route with an Airbus A330-200 with an increased maximum takeoff weight of 242 tonnes, allowing for nonstop services to Tokyo.
“Half a million Japanese tourists visit Spain every year, and the number of Spaniards travelling to Japan is growing significantly,” Iberia president and CEO Luis Gallego said. “With our nonstop flights and this joint business they will have greater opportunities and more benefits when traveling between Japan and Europe.”
BA CEO Alex Cruz added, “We are delighted our sister airline Iberia will be joining our oneworld partners in the joint business ... Iberia’s direct flights between Narita and Madrid will be a very popular addition.”
British Airways operates from London Heathrow to Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda airports. Finnair flies from Helsinki to Narita, Osaka Kansai, Nagoya and Fukuoka. JAL operates daily flights from Narita and Haneda to Paris Charles de Gaulle. It also operates Haneda-Heathrow flights and Narita-Frankfurt and Narita-Helsinki services.