||In 2002, Iberia celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding on June 27, 1927. The airline began scheduled services in December of the same year.
In these 75 years more than 500 millions people have flown with Iberia, situating this company among the five largest European airlines, and making Iberia the unrivalled leader on routes connecting Spain with the rest of Europe, and Europe with Latin America. It is probably the most profitable airline in Europe.
In this period Iberia has been a pioneer in launching innovative products and services. In 1946 it became the first European airline to fly to South America, and in 1974 it launched Europe's first walk-on shuttle service, linking Madrid and Barcelona. That same year it established the "Serviberia" telephone information service, the precursor of today¿s popular call centers, as well as the "Red Jackets", uniformed ground staff with the mission of providing special service to customers and to resolve any problems that might arise.
In 1991, Iberia set up Europe's first international airline Frequent-Flyer programme, Iberia Plus, and, in 1996, the airline launched the www.iberia.com website, which is still the Spanish leader in online sales.
The year 2001 was a watershed year for Iberia, when privatization was completed and Iberia shares were listed on stock exchanges Thus Spain's flag carrier, which was a public sector enterprise for most of its history, regained its earlier status as a private company.
Today Iberia is more than an airline. It is an international transportation group, operating in 40 countries, employing more than 25,000 people.
The Iberia Group encompasses the Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum franchise. In addition to transporting passengers and freight, Iberia carries out many related activities, such as aircraft maintenance, handling in airports, IT systems, in-flight catering, and holiday packages. Iberia is to member of the prestigious oneworld airline Alliance.
Today Iberia Group airlines fly to 96 destinations in 40 countries. Via code-sharing arrangements with other companies, it offers flights to other additional 60 destinations in 25 countries. With a fleet of about 200 aircraft, it operates about 1,000 flights each day. In 2002, Iberia carried 28 million passengers and 210,000 tonnes of freight.
In addition, Iberia is one of the world's most highly-qualified aircraft maintenance companies, servicing its own fleet and those of another 48 companies, including some leading European airlines. Iberia is the leading supplier of handling services (assistance to aircraft and passengers) at all Spanish airports, its airline clients number more than 200.
Iberia is also a founding partner in the world's leading computerized air ticket reservation system, Amadeus, in which it holds an 18,28% stake. In partnership with Gate Gourmet, a leading airline catering company, it operates Iberswiss, which prepares more than 13 million meal trays each year. Iberia is also active as a tour operator through its Viva Tours and Tiempo Libre units, and with Cacesa it supplies express parcel shipment services.
Iberia's alliance with American Airlines and with British Airways, along with its membership in oneworld, places the company in one of the large airline groups that are now taking shape with view to future competition into a global market.