DALLAS – Spanish flag carrier Iberia (IB) is adding a new long-haul destination soon to be added to its route network for the winter season. The carrier has announced that from December 11, 2023, it will start flying direct from its hub in Madrid (MAD) to Hamad International Airport in Doha (DOH) thrice weekly.
This new connection will be added to the already large presence of Qatar Airways (QR) in Spain, operating up to 26 weekly frequencies from DOH to both the Spanish capital and Barcelona (BCN) during the low season. QR also regularly schedules additional flights to Malaga (AGP) in the summer, but these always terminate every September.
Fernando Candela, CEO at Iberia, said: “We are really excited about the launch of our Madrid-Doha route…we are building the much-desired bridge between Spain and more than 200 destinations in Asia, Australasia, the Middle East, and Africa, and offering new opportunities for travelers in both directions.
Flight IB6701 will depart Madrid at 08:30 local time, arriving seven hours later in Qatar at 17:35. This itinerary allows for more flexibility for Oneworld customers to find quicker and more convenient options for onward connecting flights from Doha to East Asia and Oceania. It will be operated by one of IB’s Airbus A330-200s with 288 seats in a two-class configuration.
Spain Joins the QJB Partnership
With the launch of the new Madrid to Doha route, Iberia has secured its position as the new member of the QJB Joint Business Partenership, existing currently between the two partner airlines British Airways (BA) and Qatar Airways (QR). This partnership now enables a much closer relationship between the IAG investors, which agreed to share its route networks in around 200 destinations.
Qatar Airways, one of the largest airline offering connecting itineraries between Europe and the rest of Asia, will benefit strongly from the largely developed presences of BA in North America and Iberia in Latin America to further attract new passengers to pass through their mega hubs in London (LHR), Doha (DOH) and Madrid (MAD).
Group Executive at QR, Akbar Al Baker, said, “Our passengers will now have more opportunities than ever to connect to different destinations…this collaborative effort comes as part of our commitment to continuously improve the offerings available to our passengers and provide them with the best in the industry.”
Oneworld’s Asia-Pacific Network
It is clear that the third airline alliance, Oneworld, is the clear leader in the commercial air transport of transatlantic passengers. Including the operations of Aer Lingus (EI), American Airlines (AA), British Airways (BA), Iberia (IB) and low-cost carrier LEVEL, the group currently offers the widest offering in terms of flights and seats across the Atlantic Ocean.
However, the global partnership loses strength once we start moving eastward to Asia, as Oneworld is currently represented by the least amount of carriers in that region. Despite counting the membership of important hub airlines such as Cathay Pacific (CX), Qantas (QF) or Japan Airlines (JL), those are not sufficient to face the large networks built by Star Alliance and SkyTeam.
As well, Oneworld is the only of the three groups that has no member airline operating from the large country of the People’s Republic of China, which is the second single aviation market in the world at this stage.
The addition of Iberia to the QJB Joint Business will certainly boost traffic for the alliance in the Europe-Asia market, added to the significant presence of Finnair (AY) in the region after the massive restructuration process the Finnish airline has gone through during the last months.
Featured image: Iberia has chosen the Airbus A330-200 to fly the Madrid-Doha route. Photo: Adrian Nowakowski/Airways.