Iberia presented (15-Oct-2013) its new logo and branding which maintains the carrier's red and yellow colour scheme but removes the Spanish crown from the logo. Iberia said its rebranding is a "symbol" of the carrier's transformation. CEO Luis Gallego stated, "It is not just a matter of changing the company logo, but of bringing the new image to every corner of Iberia, so the change will be perceived in all our products and the service we provide to our customers." Mr Galllego added, "Iberia changes or she dies...The brand is just a link in the chain of everything that we are doing to improve the company's revenues". The new image's design process involved interviews with 9000 customers and employees, as well as advice from brand consultants Interbrand. The first aircraft to sport the new livery will be Iberia's fifth A330, to be delivered mid-Nov-2013, while the new interiors are currently being installed on Iberia's A340-600 fleet. The new branding will "gradually appear" at airports where Iberia operates, and its fleet will be re-branded "progressively" over five to ten years while the carrier will no incur "no additional costs" for fleet rebranding, according to Europa Press. [more - original PR - Spanish]
Iberia unveils new logo and brand image; fifth A330 coming mid-Nov-2013 to be first in new livery
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Ryanair's 117million pax in 2016 tops European airline groups. The first time an LCC topped rankings
For the first time ever in Europe, in 2016 a low cost airline carried more passengers than any other airline or airline group, as Ryanair's 117 million passengers pushed Lufthansa Group's 110 million into second place. Ryanair had beaten Lufthansa itself, but not the whole Lufthansa Group. IAG's first full year of including Aer Lingus helped it to take third place from Air France-KLM. Europe's number two LCC, easyJet, was ranked fifth.
The big five can be expanded into a big seven to include Turkish Airlines and the Aeroflot Group, although these two had contrasting growth rates in 2016. A chasing pack of middle sized airline groups includes three LCCs (Norwegian, Pegasus and Wizz Air) and three legacy airlines with varying challenges to establishing sustainable profitability (SAS, Air Berlin Group and Alitalia).
Most of the faster growing airline groups in the top 20 are LCCs and the main growth drivers for Europe's big three legacy groups are their LCC subsidiaries. Just outside the top 20 are some fast growing legacy airlines in Eastern Europe, demonstrating the potential there. Nevertheless, unless there is a big merger or acquisition, Ryanair looks set to remain at number one for some time.
IAG plans long haul low cost from Barcelona and mulls a new dedicated brand
IAG has detailed plans to start long haul low cost airline flights from Barcelona to the US, Latin America and Asia in Jun-2017. The project involves two Airbus A330s and will create up to 250 new jobs. Tickets for the first destinations are expected to be on sale by Feb-2017 or Mar-2017.
One of the key outstanding issues is which IAG airline brand will operate the flights. In an interview published on 22-Dec-2016 by La Vanguardia, the widely read and respected Barcelona newspaper, CEO Willie Walsh said that IAG may create a new brand for the project. British Airways, Iberia or even Aer Lingus – which has the lowest unit cost among IAG's long haul airlines – are also possibilities. However, Vueling "will continue in its strategy of European flights".
Among Europe's big three legacy airline groups, IAG is the only one not to have announced long haul low cost plans previously, although its LCC strategy has been the most successful in short/medium haul. Plans by the LCC Norwegian to launch long haul routes from Barcelona in 2017 may have had a catalytic effect on IAG's thinking. In the past IAG has been proactive in creating new platforms, while this move appears a little more reactive.