The executive president of the Iberia Group, Javier Sánchez, has declared that the acquisition of Air Europa “will never” be to the detriment of the current situation with the Canary Islands, since what it should do is to actually reinforce it, assuring that the company’s commitment to the connectivity of the Canary Islands “is unfaltering”.
Sánchez stressed, after holding a meeting with the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, that the Iberia Group “has doubled the number of seats” that connect with the Canary Islands since 2013, assuring that “this will continue to be the case”, as the group expects to grow in the archipelago by 20 percent between 2022 and 2025, while in the group as a whole it will be “a little bit lower”. He also explained that in terms of job creation, the group expects to employ almost 1,000 people in the Canary Islands.
Sustainability was another of the topics discussed at the meeting, and Sánchez told Torres that “you can count on Iberia to participate with the producers” in terms of sustainable fuel to try to develop this type of technology on the islands, which “is a response to the circular economy” and which he admitted “is going to be necessary for air operations”.
“We believe it can be very positive for technological development and also for the generation of employment in the Canary Islands,” he said, adding that the meeting had been “very positive”.
The meeting also discussed ticket prices, assuring that “they will continue to be competitive”. In this regard, he explained that in 2022 the “minimum price at which people have flown to the Canary Islands before the residents’ discount is 40 euros and it is not a testimonial price”, so that 18 percent of Canary Islanders or Canary Island visitors have flown at this price.
CONNECTIVITY WITH THE CANARY ISLANDS: COMPETITIVE” PRICES
“The average price has been 110 euros, which is 25 percent lower than in 2013. The 40 euros minimum price is 50 percent lower than in 2013, so the truth is that the connectivity of the Canary Islands today is probably the best connectivity of any region that exists in Spain,” he said, although he pointed out that “probably the only one that is a little better is the one between Madrid and Barcelona”.
When asked how he sees the possibility of the connections with the Canary Islands being declared a Public Service Obligation (OSP), he indicated that originally the OSPs “were created for different situations”, for markets in which “this offer did not naturally” exist, and he therefore considered that “there will surely be some challenges in the process that will have to be worked on”.
Sánchez acknowledged that he is unaware of the effect that the PSO test to be carried out with the Canary Islands on a route to establish the maximum tariff may have. He admitted that “it is complex” to analyse in terms of the effect it may have on the availability of seats or others, hence he understands that during the process there will be “some implementation challenges”.
SUSTAINABILITY IN THE CANARY ISLANDS: VERY POSITIVE” DATA
For his part, the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, thanked the meeting with the executive president of the Iberia Group and the other members of its management, in which he was given “all very positive” data, since the “fundamental” objective of the islands “is to maintain and increase, to improve air connectivity”.
He added that currently the Iberia Group’s greatest connectivity is from Madrid to Barcelona and then to the Canary Islands. In this sense, Torres has valued the “significant increase” in connectivity that has been passed on to him, together with a greater generation of employment and the use of aircraft that consume “much less carbon dioxide, up to 30 percent — less — and even 50 percent less noise”.
The Canary Islands President pointed out that “it is very important” that the Iberia Group and other combustion companies are committed to clean energy, to sustainable energy, as he understands that the Canary Islands “need air and maritime connectivity with the European continent” and trusts that this “must be done with parameters that lead to sustainability”.
In this respect, he considered that progress has been made with this exemption in the carbon dioxide tax between islands and the rest of Spain, and also with the exemption if sustainable energy is used, as he pointed out that the future “is neither oil nor diesel, the future is clean energy, wind, geothermal and also photovoltaic energy”, on which he stressed that the Canary Islands Government is making a “clear commitment”, as demonstrated by the law against climate change passed during this legislature.
For this reason, he said, the Canary Islands are offering to be a place where clean energy can be generated “because that is the future” and because he stressed that the tourism that is desired for the coming years “must and will be sustainable tourism”.