Flying is one of the best options we have when it comes to connecting with people, doing business and visiting countries. The Iberia Group is an airline that delivers on this with the recognition of being the most punctual airline in Europe. Gemma Juncá, Iberia's Brand and Marketing Director, tells us about the key to the company's success.
We have left the pandemic behind us, but now we are facing new challenges such as the energy crisis. How is the company doing now and what are its objectives at FITUR?
Our motto is that every day is the first day here and that every day we have to give 100% to achieve our goals: that our customers are happy to fly with us. Fortunately we have a team that follows this maxim and thanks to them we have managed to be the most punctual airline in Europe by 2022, because this is not just about technology or processes, it's about people and their commitment. We are happy to be the most punctual airline in Europe.
Regarding the pandemic, we have come out of it and, even though there are other challenges now, like the conflict in Ukraine and the oil price, we are happy to see that demand is strong and that travel and everything experiential has become a priority after the pandemic. We almost prefer to live experiences rather than buying material things and I think that as humanity this is very healthy for everyone.
At FITUR we are presenting all the new products of the year, such as our A350 Next model, with a simulation of the aircraft. You know that the A350 had already joined our fleet three years ago, but this new generation of aircraft has a much improved interior. It has a business cabin with more privacy, with a door that absolutely isolates you, with a new wood design, with better finishes, with a 4K entertainment system, more content, better organised, wider seats in economy - which is very important - Bluetooth connectivity and with many of those small improvements that make the flight really comfortable.
Has Wifi been incorporated in the planes?
Since June last year we have had wifi in the entire paying fleet so that business class customers and Iberia Plus customers have free connectivity to chat during the entire flight. If you don't want wifi, you can always rest, taste the food we have on board, savour a good Spanish wine, watch a film or sleep.
We're looking at the simulator right now and people are delighted.
It's true that FITUR always has a business side, but it also has a fun side. In the simulator you can fly in the 350 as a passenger, but you can also fly a plane. I recommend the experience because it's amazing to take off from T4 and fly the plane yourself.
One more thing that we are counting on and that I think is very important in the aviation sector is the social impact that the Iberia group has not only in Spain but also in all the countries where we operate. We are used to travelling and connecting people, but I think our work goes one step further because we generate a lot of prosperity in the regions where we operate. First, economically, with a very high contribution to GDP, but also with that silent work that sometimes goes unseen of being committed to the Ukrainian refugee network, of having been helping La Palma, of all the associations with which we collaborate or the transport of the organs that we help to bring in. All this work that the Iberia team does with great care and which, at the end of the day, is nothing less than a social contribution. Nowadays, brands are also asked to do this.
Have old routes been recovered and others opened?
Yes, this year we recovered Rio de Janeiro, which was a route we had not yet reopened, and we also recovered Caracas. Right now we are practically at the same capacity levels as in 2019, even a little above, but with a more sustainable, renewed and modern fleet. Let's keep flying.
What is Iberia's type of customer and what type of offer do they prefer?
In Spain we often look more at price than quality. It is true that they are competitive in this market, right now we have launched an offer of destinations until the end of January, which is the time to plan and buy, but since price is an important factor, you have to have a certain balance between what you are going to pay and quality, how you are going to travel. What we try to do is to make sure that the balance is always right.
If you had to attract a client right now, what phrase would you use?
More than attracting a client, what I would love is for each one we attract to come back. I think that in a way, for all Spaniards, setting foot on an Iberia plane is like being at home.
I think that this care and being the flagship brand of what is the essence of Spain works. I would be more interested in the loyalty of the customers we have than in attracting new ones, although we always want the whole market, because we want to be the airline of choice for all those who are looking for value for money.