Iberia Moves Latin American Hub to Panama and Guatemala

July 23, 2004

SPANISH airline Iberia hasannounced it will transfer its LatinAmerican hub from Miami InternationalAirport to Panama City and GuatemalaCity on Oct. 1.Originally, Iberia had considered SanJosé’s Juan Santamaría InternationalAirport for its hub. However, the countrywas ruled out because it was consideredtoo expensive and does not offer enoughconnecting flights, the daily La Naciónreported.Iberia plans to reduce the number ofdaily flights between Madrid and Miamito one and plans to begin daily non-stopservice to Guatemala and Panama.The airline’s connecting flights fromMiami to San José, San Pedro Sula(Honduras), San Salvador (El Salvador),Managua (Nicaragua) and Cancún(Mexico) will be replaced by flights onpartner airlines, such as American Airlinesand Grupo TACA.Al Romeu, manager of AlterraPartners, the firm in charge of administratingJuan Santamaría, said negotiationsto create a non-stop flight betweenMadrid and Costa Rica began in 2002.Alterra, the Costa Rican TourismInstitute (ICT) and the Panamanian governmentpresented a plan to Iberia for anon-stop flight from Madrid to San Joséthat concluded in Panama.However, the airline asked the governmentsto help it reduce the $6 million inlosses it had projected for its first year ofoffering the flight.Citing its fiscal deficit, the CostaRican government said it could not providethe resources and the deal did not gothrough, Romeu said.

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