BA and Iberia combine cargo efforts

ALMOST three months after the British Airways and Iberia passenger businesses formally merged to become International Airlines Group (IAG), the cargo sides have combined as of today.

“We are integrating our cargo businesses to the point where we have one network, one sales force and a single revenue management system,” Steve Gunning, cargo managing director of IAG, told Air Cargo News. Gunning was previously managing director of BA World Cargo.

BA brings three 747-400 freighters on wet-lease and an abundance of belly capacity to the merger, while Iberia offers two wet-leased narrowbody freighters and passenger belly capacity.

“Seventy to 75 per cent of Iberia’s cargo is perishables,” Ignacio Díez Barturen, deputy managing director of IAG, said. Barturen joins IAG after his role as managing director at Iberia Cargo. While both cargo operations will retain their current brands, under IAG, Gunning expects to fill bellies and cargo decks alike with plenty of pharma, express and mail cargo.

Iberia has recently brought on new Los Angeles and Latin American destinations, with Angola operations due after the summer, Barturen revealed.

The combined business will be one of the 10 largest air cargo carriers worldwide.

Aside from expanding the network, IAG is also reviewing its fleet. “We have a contract to upgrade to a 747-8F, expected for the end of the year, but there have been setbacks and we are not sure when this will come,” Gunning said. The aircraft will be wet-leased from Global Supply Systems.

British Airways’ and Iberia’s cargo businesses operated more than 5,890 million freight tonne kilometres in 2010.

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