04 February, 2022

Last Year Saw 60% Recovery of Iberia Airport Services’ Passenger Handling Volume, with 47 Million

  • Iberia’s airport handling unit, which serves Vueling in Barcelona, was a major contributor to Vueling’s showing as Europe most punctual airline in 2021, and to El Prat’s ranking amongst Europe’s top five airports in flight punctuality.
  • Iberia Airport Services put its entire staff back on duty last year, and next month will offer permanent contracts to 800 temporary employees.
  • Iberia’s handling unit operates at 29 Spanish airports, where last year it assisted more than 200,000 aircraft and handled nearly 33 million pieces of luggage
  • The unit last year towed more than 5,000 aircraft with its new electric ground vehicles, which are replacing fossil fuel-powered equipment.


Iberia Airport Services, the Spanish airline’s handling unit which serves more than 150 airline clients in 20 Spanish airports, last year assisted 46.8 million passengers, which represented a 59.6% increase on the number served in 2020.

The unit is credited for making a major contribution to Vueling’s showing as Europe's most punctual airline last year, according to industry monitor Cirium. Vueling’s Barcelona hub ranked fifth in Europe for the largest percentage of on-time flights.

Iberia Airport Services serves another 30 airline clients at Barcelona’s El Prat airport, where its handling market share is 70%.  Despite the additional health document requirements and procedures, the unit achieved a 99.78% on-time result for its services to Vueling.

During the pandemic, the unit installed the comprehensive Kepler digital management system, which adds efficiency and speeds real-time decision making during the handling process, as this video shows. 

Iberia’s Airports Manager Josรฉ Luis de Luna said, “The restriction put in place by every country made 2021 a complicated year, as the figures show. And while they remained lower than those of 2019, they represented a strong recovery from 2020. We’re delighted to have contributed to the impressive on-time rating of both Vueling and of the Barcelona airport, and also that more than 90% of the airlines that began to operate in Spain in 2020 chose Iberia Airport Services as their handling provider. We signed ten new airline clients in the year, and resumed commercial relations with another nine.” 


800 New Permanent Employees

Iberia Airport Services ended 2912 with its entire staff back on duty, and in December it hired 1,000 additional staff to meet demand at 19 airports during the holiday season and to compensate for the absences of many employees due to the Omicron variant.

In keeping with an agreement with unions reached prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, before 15 March the unit will change 800 temporary contracts into permanent ones.


200,000 Aircraft, 33 million Pieces of Luggage, and Nearly 330,000 Tonnes of Freight

Iberia Airport Services assists passengers at every stage of the airport experience: check-in, boarding, arrival, transits, dealing with incidents, looking after unaccompanied minors, etc.

On the airport ramp, it loads and unloads luggage; tows aircraft; places and operates power equipment, stairways, platforms, and conveyor belts; and prepares aircraft for each flight.

In 2021, Iberia Airport Service assisted 199,038 aircraft –43.8% more than the previous year-- and handled 32.9 million pieces of luggage –81.4% more.

Iberia Airport Services also handled more than 328,600 tonnes of freight –up 32% from 2020.


Objective: Reduce Carbon Footprint

To reduce its carbon footprint Iberia Airport Services last year acquired eight new, remote-controlled, electric pushback tractors, which have already been used to tow 5,000 aircraft in the airports of Madrid and Barcelona.


Meanwhile, it has been conducting tests of other innovative electric vehicles and ground equipment at the airport of Madrid, Barcelona, and Malaga with a view to reducing emissions and noise, and increasing safety and efficiency.


New Airport Handling Licences

Handling licences awarded by Spanish airports, which represent an annual business volume of about one billion euros, come up for renewal every seven years, and 2022 will see bids presented to the AENA airport authority by Iberia Airport Services and its competitors. This year Iberia's handing unit is offering many new innovative and sustainable services which make it more efficient and able to offer services tailored to clients’ needs.

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