IAG to acquire Iberia competitor Air Europa

Photo: © Alan Wilson

Iberia and British Airways parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) has announced that it plans to acquire Spanish airline Air Europa on Monday morning.

Current Air Europa owner Globalia Corp. and IAG have agreed on a deal which would see Iberia take over Air Europa – its largest competitor – for €1 billion (US $1.12 billion), subject to government approval.

The transaction and takeover is due to be completed in the second half of 2020, according to the two parties.

IAG says it plans to to turn the Spanish capital into one of Europe’s largest intercontinental hubs by integrating Air Europa into Ibera’s operations. Both airlines are primarily based at Madrid Barajas Airport. The multinational airline group wants to strengthen its position as the largest player in the Europe to Latin America aviation market.

Acquiring Air Europa would add a new competitive, cost effective airline to IAG, consolidating Madrid as a leading European hub and resulting in IAG achieving South Atlantic leadership, therefore generating additional financial value for our shareholders.
IAG has a strong track record of successful acquisitions, most recently with the acquisition of Aer Lingus in 2015 and we are convinced Air Europa presents a strong strategic fit for the group.Willie Walsh, CEO of International Airlines Group

Ibera, along with other IAG airlines, is a member of the OneWorld airline alliance, while Air Europa is part of SkyTeam since 2007.

This proposed deal comes just six weeks after SkyTeam member Delta Air Lines announced the acquisition of a 20 percent stake in South American LATAM Airlines. LATAM used to be a strong partner of IAG’s airlines through OneWorld, but has now left this alliance due to the new partnership with Delta.

Air Europa was founded in 1986. In 2018, the airline carried a total of 11.8 million passengers and made a profit of €100 million. As of today, it operates a 66 aircraft to 69 destinations. Its fleet consists of Boeing 737-800 for short and medium haul flights, Airbus A330 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner for long haul and ATR 72, as well as Embraer E-jets for regional connections. Iberia on the other hand primarily operates the Airbus A320 family, along with A330, A340 and A350 on long haul flights. Air Europa will keep its own name and air operator certificate (AOC) for now, as IAG has not yet mentioned any plans on merging the two airlines completely.