Iberia celebrates 70 years of Latin American services

 Iberia is marking 70 years of presence in Latin America with a number of events and a special livery. Picture: Iberia

Iberia is marking 70 years of presence in Latin America with a number of events and a special livery. Picture: Iberia

The Airbus A330-200 that illustrates this post is decorated with the flags of 16 countries. These are the flags of the Latin American countries to which Iberia currently flies.

In fact, Iberia is a perfect example of airline with a very specific geographical focus. If, for example, Finnair, has made itself a name in the airline industry as a specialist in Asian routes, Iberia has historically done the same for Latin America.

And it has been so for a really long time! This week marks the 70th anniversary of Iberia's first flight to Latin America. 

On 22nd September, 1946, an Iberia DC-4 completed the 36-hour flight linking Madrid to Buenos Aires. The flight included stops in Villa Cisneros (today's Dakhla, in the Western Sahara, but a Spanish territory at the time), Natal (Brazil) and Rio de Janeiro. The fare: 7,250 pesetas, a little fortune at the time! 

As a curiosity, passengers could enjoy meals of Spanish omelette, boiled eggs, fried chicken and chocolates.

One of the passengers on that first flight, Francisco Botas, a child at the time, has recalled, for the occasion, some of the highlights of that trip, that included a lunch with the Spanish governor of Villa Cisneros, in the presence of two leopards. Mr. Botas has flown over 400 times with Iberia since then!

From that first Argentinian destination, and to this date, Iberia's network has grown to cover also the following cities: Mexico, San Juan, Havana, Panama, Guatemala, San José de Costa Rica, Asunción, Bogotá, Cali, Medellín, Lima, Caracas, Quito, Guayaquil, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Santo Domingo and San Salvador.