Iberia Airlines plans to serve Latin America from Miami base


Iberia Airlines, the Spanish carrier, says it is considering delivering service to nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean from the hub it plans to establish in Miami this spring.

Iberia hopes to inaugurate its expanded service on May 1, but said it was not able to announce a precise date because negotiations with the governments of the countries it will serve had not been completed.

Among destinations being considered are Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, the company said.

The planned service is the result of an agreement between the United States and Spain, signed last June, enabling American Airlines and United Airlines to begin new services to Madrid. In exchange, Iberia, Spain's largest airline, was granted rights to serve Latin America and the Caribbean from a United States hub.

The company, which flies one DC-10 daily between Madrid and Miami, said the first phase of its new service would involve adding three of these flights each week. In Miami, it said it would position a fleet of four DC-9's to meet the arriving DC-10's.

Iberia has been expanding its interests in Latin America through acquisitions. Over the last 18 months, it has acquired a 30 percent interest in Aerolineas Argentinas, a 35 percent stake in Ladeco of Chile and a 45 percent interest in Viasa of Venezuela. Although it said it would coordinate marketing programs with these airlines, it added that it had no plans to serve Argentina, Chile and Venezuela from Miami.

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