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Iberia, legally incorporated as Iberia, Líneas Aéreas de España, S.A. Operadora, Sociedad Unipersonal, is the flag carrier airline of Spain, founded in 1927. Based in Madrid, it operates an international network of services from its main base of Madrid–Barajas Airport. Iberia, with Iberia Regional (operated by an independent carrier Air Nostrum) and with Iberia Express, is a part of International Airlines Group. In addition to transporting passengers and freight, Iberia Group carries out related activities, such as aircraft maintenance, handling in airports, IT systems, and in-flight catering. Iberia Group airlines fly to over 109 destinations in 39 countries, and a further 90 destinations through code-sharing agreements with other airlines.
On 8 April 2010, it was confirmed that British Airways and Iberia had signed an agreement to merge, making the combined operation the third largest commercial airline in the world by revenue. Shareholders of both carriers approved the deal on 29 January 2010. The newly merged company, known as International Airlines Group (IAG), was established in January 2011, although both airlines continue to operate under their respective brands.
Iberia has a 9.49% stake in low-cost carrier Vueling which is based near Barcelona, with parent company IAG owning the remaining 90.51%. This was done to ensure that IAG does not have 100% of the shares in Vueling, but that the shares are split between its divisions. Iberia also has a 0.95% share in Royal Air Maroc.
Iberia is allied with American Airlines, Qantas, Avianca and British Airways, and it was allied with Grupo TACA. On 1 January 1999, the company joined the Oneworld alliance.
Iberia formerly owned Aviaco, which operated most domestic routes. It was founded on 18 February 1948 and operated until 1 January 1999. Iberia also owned Binter Canarias, until the Spanish government began the privatization of the subsidiary. Hesperia Inversiones Aéreas bought the airline from Iberia in January 2002. A second airline using the Binter name, Binter Mediterraneo, was formed as a subsidiary of Iberia in 1988 with routes from Melilla to Málaga, Almeria, Valencia and in its last year, with Madrid. The airline was acquired by Air Nostrum in 1998 and merged into its operations, at that time the airline had a fleet of CN- 235.
Iberia was a founding partner in the computerized air ticket reservation system, Amadeus, with an 18.28% stake. Iberia is also active as a tour operator through its Viva Tours and Tiempo Libre units, and with Cacesa, it supplies parcel shipment services.
In addition, Iberia is an aircraft maintenance company, servicing its fleet and those of another 48 companies, including some leading European airlines. Iberia is a supplier of aircraft handling services at all Spanish airports and two in Equatorial Guinea; its airline clients number more than 200 and has 7300 employees.