All posts by Clara de la Torre

  • The ISAGO (IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations) certificate accredits handling agents that comply with the highest safety standards defined by IATA. ISAGO, as with IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) for the airline, reviews through an exhaustive audit all the operational procedures and processes that we carry out, the regulations that we have published and many other aspects of the documentation that regulates ground operations, verifying that all of this complies with the regulatory requirements and IATA standards.

To carry out this inspection, once requested by us, IATA appoints a global Audit Organisation, which in turn assigns an audit team to review more than a thousand operational standards spread across the five areas in which we carry out our activity:

  • Company organisation (SMS, Training, Quality, etc.).
  • Passenger and baggage assistance
  • Aircraft loading and unloading (handling of equipment, wheeling, etc.).
  • Control of aircraft loading and centring
  • Aircraft movement on the ground

On behalf of IBAS, all areas related to the operation have actively collaborated, both Central Services and Madrid-Barajas Airport Management, coordinated from the Quality and Environment area.

IBAS has just renewed this certificate at Madrid-Barajas Airport, a further step towards excellence, quality and safety in our services as a handling agent. A recognition of the experience and work of our employees for their involvement, commitment and constant effort.

An endorsement of excellence in operational safety for our portfolio of more than 150 client companies, and a benchmark for the renewal of handling licences.

                 

Ibas is exploring new initiatives to accelerate the digitalisation of turnaround and make airport processes more efficient and agile.

In addition to remote-controlled push back tractors for push back in Barcelona and Madrid, we are using an innovative operational management tool called Kepler, which unifies all traditionally used applications into a single one and allows resource planning, real-time monitoring of the operation, invoice management and data analysis, as well as the development of other in-house collaborative tools that improve communication and collaboration between teams.

In addition, we are working on automatic load sheets, developing a more intuitive and agile system, called IRIS, which allows us to reduce indecencies and time between operations.

Flynews echoes our innovation in this recently published article.

 

 

 

       

Espacio Iberia, located in the heart of Madrid, at calle Velázquez, 37, is a 350 square metre space open to the public to enjoy a different and unique experience.

We have recreated the cabin of an aeroplane, with Business, Premium Economy and Economy seats, where visitors can enjoy the experience as it is offered in flight at 30,000 feet, but without having to take off from the ground.

         

But the fun doesn’t stop there. Wine tasting, beer tasting, show cooking, coffee tasting… and even a walk through the history of our uniforms, which visitors can try on and have photographed with a fun 360º Glam Cam. In addition, visitors to the Iberia Space can also purchase iconic merchandising objects.

       

An experience that we also share with our employees, dedicating this space exclusively to them, in recognition of them, our people, because they are the face of our service and attention to each of our customers, the ones who personalise and humanise this experience every day at our airports. Today we have brought together check-in and ramp agents, coordinators, trainers, administrative staff and their managers so that for one day they can become customers by living “their experience with Iberia”.

 

We all add up with these internal events that bring together colleagues from different areas, exchange impressions, live and feel like a passenger, get to know the services we offer in first person and, above all, get out of their routine, because they deserve it. We are proud of you and grateful to share this space today, which we have enjoyed!

 

We remind you that anyone can book these activities in advance at https://espacio.iberia.com or at the reception of Espacio Iberia, as the capacity is limited. Open every day, from 12 to 21h from Monday to Sunday, including public holidays, until 30 June.

 

 

 

 

 

Iberia Airport Services has been the handling company chosen to accompany UNITED AIRLINES in the expansion of its transatlantic network in Spain. The American company has just launched two new routes from Newark (EWR) to Palma de Mallorca (PMI) from June 3rd and Tenerife South (TFS) from June 10th.

Last January we won the tender launched by the company after hard work in the commercial area.  Ana del Cura, commercial manager of the account and specialist in American airlines, tells us about the particularities of the whole process for the landing of UNITED at IBAS airports: “American companies must follow the particular regulations of the United States and this is reflected both in the contract and in the documentation that, as handling service providers, we must present and comply with. In the specific case of UNITED AIRLINES for the opening of the two destinations in Spain to PMI and TFS, we have received great support and there is a fluid communication with their team that has made it possible to solve the particularities in the implementation at a technical, training and procedural level. We are delighted to include UNITED in our client portfolio and very excited about their confidence in this new project and those that may arise in our airport network. I am convinced that this is only the beginning of a successful and long-lasting relationship, and I feel very fortunate to be able to accompany them on a daily basis as UNITED’s KAM.

       

At IBAS we are committed to making UNITED’s operations a success, coordinating the start-up between all the areas that in one way or another are involved in the care of their aircraft. Our goal is to plan the operation in perfect harmony so that nothing goes wrong. On site, at each stopover, an action plan was developed with IT and operational systems; HR with the planning of the assigned personnel and the training to be provided; MASA cleaning managers and the Commercial area to coordinate everything agreed with UNITED. In addition, we have provided support with AENA for the implementation of their procedures and resources at our bases. A large number of training hours have been given to our passenger, boarding, coordination and loading and unloading staff. In addition to facilitating the management and placement of the branding for the airport terminal, reinforcing and promoting the start of operations.

       

Joana Quintana Morey, Manager of Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI), highlights the enormous media coverage and the good reception that UNITED’s arrival on the island has had, allowing non-stop travel to the USA. “Despite the fact that during the preparations we have had to overcome many challenges different from what we are used to, such as the implementation of security protocols according to American regulations, we have put a lot of enthusiasm into this project and I am sure that we will be able to provide a good service with the involvement of all of us who make up IBAS at PMI. “

       

Sonia Henríquez Brito, Manager of Tenerife Airport (TFS), tells us what the arrival of UNITED has meant for her stopover “We have had two big challenges at TFS. Firstly, the connection of their routers and the availability of SIM cards, and secondly, the reception of the company’s equipment. The lifting of this material involves a bureaucracy that does not exist in the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, and it is proving complicated to lift the goods at the cargo terminal. We are fully engaged in the logistics and provision of material, which will be here for the first operation next Friday.

Our aim is always to ensure that the client company feels at home and to show them that we have all their needs covered. We are looking forward to seeing this first landing and serving UNITED; it will be a   historic milestone for the Tenerife team”.

With PMI operations already underway, and days away from the first take-off at TFS, the Iberia Airport Services team is ready to fly with UNITED AIRWAYS!

   

 

 

The world of aviation arouses great interest in general, and especially our followers on social networks. They are very interested in everything that is hidden behind each flight, what is not visible to the naked eye, when we personalise and “humanise” our work through you.

Who hasn’t ever wondered what happens just below your feet when you are sitting in a plane about to start the backward movement, and what happens in those moments before a plane takes off safely?

Beatriz Carmona, coordinator at Madrid airport, tells us today on our social media profiles what her day-to-day life is like. We have accompanied her during one of her days, in which she interacts with colleagues from other areas: passengers, ramp, pilots…

Coordination is essential for a plane to take off on time and safely, so each team assigned to a flight knows what they have to do.

The “dance” around the plane starts between one hour and 45  minutes before the scheduled departure time, depending on the type of plane.Bea makes sure that this meshing fits together perfectly: “I have to have a thousand eyes everywhere because there are so many things going on at once that I have to be aware of. We serve more than 150 client companies and never one flight is the same as another. That’s the magic of my job.

“My favourite moment of the day is doing the pushback with the Mototok; I operate the aircraft with my hands, I am the pilot’s eyes. I never imagined that this job existed and I can’t see myself doing anything else.”

   

Will you take off with us on this flight? You can watch the full video at these links:

YT: https://youtu.be/D8NGo_HBUyE

FB: https://fb.watch/d5QbPBJl-L/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/p/CdvFp80Dy-T/

TW:  https://twitter.com/Iberia/status/1527251131105255424

Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (the second largest in Spain) is located 12 km southwest of Barcelona and 6 metres above sea level. The airport has had several popular nicknames such as La Volatería, Aeropuerto del Prat, or the most common of all, Barcelona-El Prat Airport, although the official name is Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. It has two terminals and three runways, two parallel runways and a cross runway, which allow up to 90 operations per hour. Barcelona-El Prat is the main hub for the airlines Vueling and LEVEL, but 89 other airlines operate there, 70% of which are low-cost airlines.

The 1992 Olympic Games were held in Barcelona, for which the city and the airport were transformed to accommodate the event. Iberia Airport Services (IBAS), as the airport’s sole handling agent at the time, provided service for the entire special operation that took place at the end of July, August and September, including the Reduced Mobility Passengers service during the Paralympic Games. The Madrid-Barcelona corridor route -or Puente Aéreo- continues to be the route in Spain with the highest passenger traffic.

IBAS employs between 1,600 and 2,300 staff (depending on the season) and serves 31 airlines such as Vueling (our main client), Emirates, Turkish Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Level. It is the only Spanish airport where Singapore Airlines flies 5 times a week.

Antonio Rodríguez Aranda, senior manager at Barcelona Airport, explains how they are organised at the stopover: “There are three different work areas: coordination, passengers and ramp, all located in T1 of the airport, although we provide services in both terminals of the airport. During 2020 and 2021, we have worked on developing the versatility of the entire workforce. In fact, around 93% of staff in the passenger area are now able to check-in on three different systems, 100% of coordinators can occupy a console position and the ramp area has merged different quadrants that previously worked as “isolated departments”. In addition, in all areas of the airport, including operational support (planning, human resources, quality, billing services) we work with Kepler, our real-time integrated operational management system. The use of Kepler, together with the deployment of collaborative tools such as Teams, Planner or OneNote from Microsoft Office 365, together with the incorporation of mobile devices, has meant a great advance in the digitalisation of processes – monitoring of the operation in real time, both of companies and of vehicles on the apron that are broken down or badly parked, the status of baggage deliveries, etc. – In this way, adds Rodríguez Aranda, “we are able to manage the operation by combining the dedication required by the HUB operation of our main client, Vueling, with more than 220 flights per day (pre-pandemic), with the diversity of the requirements of the other 30 clients we serve. Of course, this is possible thanks to the commitment of our staff and the collaboration of our suppliers and AENA.

Did you know that at BCN the staff who serve Vueling wear their uniforms? 

And that we have four Mototok or electric pushback units?

Joaquín Andrés Yasky, assistant manager of LATAM’s Europe airports, acknowledges that “BCN is one of the top airports, and it is usually where we obtain the best customer satisfaction index”. Last January, the IBAS BCN team was recognised by LATAM as the most punctual stopover in its entire network, in addition to obtaining the best baggage delivery ratio. In February, it achieved the best NPS (net promoting score), i.e. it was the airport most highly valued by passengers, for which LATAM awarded the LATAM bonsai tree, a symbol of customer care and delicacy, as recognition. In March, for the third consecutive month, it was once again the most punctual stopover for this airline, one of the main customers at BCN. “IBAS is always at the height of the best handling, offering us a quality service,” says Yasky.

 

 

   

Today, International Day for Safety and Health at Work, the Safety 360º Tour kicks off at Ibiza airport, an event in which local authorities, suppliers and customers take part to learn about safety together in a fun and entertaining way.

During the pandemic, at IBAS we have had to adapt on a daily basis to needs that were not even contemplated in our procedures – such as, for example, cargo in the passenger cabin – a situation that has only served to highlight the value of the entire Safety culture that we have been implementing for some years now.

We have gone from a central manager in Operational Management with Safety functions to a structured operational management system that supports and underpins our operations vis-à-vis authorities and customers, with local representatives at all levels.

Today we look back on the evolution of our safety culture and take another step forward, to continue to be the best benchmark for handling in Spain.

IBAS has safety in its DNA and this is demonstrated by the more than 150 client companies that trust us, because SAFETY is each and every one of our employees.

Today the Safety 360º Tour kicked off in Ibiza. It will be followed by the airports of Santiago de Compostela and A Coruña and so on, each and every one of the 29 airports where we are present.

SAFETY 360º TOUR – IBIZA AIRPORT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the last two years we have been completely transforming our airport activity, and remote-controlled pusher tractors are at the forefront of our commitment to innovation and sustainability, as their use reduces noise pollution and emissions.
IBAS is the first handling operator to use these new tugs in Spain, manufactured by the German company Mototok. What’s more, we were the first in the world to use the electric push back on regional aircraft.
This fact has not gone unnoticed by the sector’s media. Actualidad Aerospacial magazine has just published a report about it. You can read it here: https://actualidadaeroespacial.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Actualidad-Aeroespacial-2022-abril.pdf (page 20).
We hope you enjoy reading it.

The last weekend of March we change the time on our clocks, we change our moods, longer days arrive, days of light, days of summer. Iberia Airport Services, also starts the new season, happy and committed to help transport the illusions of thousands of passengers, and together, welcome the spring.

We leave behind the last two years to face the Easter campaign with renewed energy and great enthusiasm, the first major challenge of the year, due to the volume of flights and passengers to be handled in just a few days. At all our airports we are doubling our efforts and are already preparing for the arrival of a “New Summer”.

During the Easter holiday period we have 10,080 operations planned, which means handling no less than 160% more activity than we had last year, and only 8% less than in 2019.

Our client airlines are also back in the air, ready to get back to work, Czech Airlines (OK) in Madrid, Lufthansa (LH) in Jerez de la Frontera, Blue Bird (BBG) in Barcelona. Other companies have chosen us and are starting operations with Iberia Airport Services; Eurowings Discover (4Y) in Jerez de la Frontera, Edelweiss (WK) in Bilbao, Air Alsie in Palma de Mallorca and Ibiza, ITA (AZ) in Mahon, Fly Play (OG) in Madrid, Malaga and Palma de Mallorca, Swiss International Air Lines (LX) in Jerez de la Frontera, Chatay (CX) in Madrid and Barcelona. We are working together to make the new season perfect.

We have been preparing, we have been recruiting for temporary staff at many of our airports, 800 conversions were carried out in March, which represents an 11% increase in staffing levels. We promoted and invested in training hours for our agents. The command area was reinforced to monitor and control operations.

The ground equipment needs at each of our airports were reviewed in detail. Our fleet has been reviewed and inspected, especially the window boxes, as they include air conditioning and are the ones that receive our passengers on their transfer to the aircraft; the rest of the equipment, ladders, belts, towing tractors, all have been overhauled.
Ramp processes have been reviewed with the Checklist, safety processes are monitored and reviewed with real time notification of any incident.
In addition, our cleaning and baggage delivery suppliers have already adapted all the services they provide us with to the increase in activity that the new season entails.

We asked three of our airports to tell us how they have prepared for this campaign.

David Martínez Álvarez, Manager at A Coruña Airport, tells us how they have prepared. –

“At A Coruña airport, we have programmed the staff at the stopover to be able to attend to passenger check-in, reinforcing the shifts with a few more desks, especially during the peaks of 4 planes that we have. We have reinforced the baggage claims desk (LL) at these peaks, in order to speed up any possible incidents that may occur.
In the ramp area, safety inspections have recently been carried out on the operation of all the equipment and we have checked that all maintenance is up to date, minimising possible breakdowns. Together with the central office, the ground equipment has been sized for the whole summer, in order to provide the best possible service to all the companies that will be operating.
The ramp staff shifts have also been reinforced, in anticipation of the increase in baggage to be handled. The PMR´s service has also been reinforced with more staff, which we also attend to at LCG”.

Pedro Linero, Senior Manager of Peninsula Airports, comments on the measures taken by one of the busiest airports these days:

“Malaga is one of the favourite destinations for Easter, passenger traffic will increase these days by 20%, so we have taken extraordinary measures in all passenger processes. I would highlight, for example, the opening of some counters in advance for most of the companies to H-150 (Vueling (VY), Iberia Express (I2), British Airways (BA), Aer Lingus (EI) and Finnair (AY), anticipating the closure of the same. We have reinforced the Lost&Found and the gardener services in time slots where we may have an increase of remote aircraft. In addition, we have held a meeting with the AENA media allocation department to try to ensure that the remote stand schedule is favourable to us. In short, we are ready, it will be a good season”.

Corinne Martínez, Manager at the airports of San Sebastián (EAS), Pamplona (PNA) and Vitoria (VIT), summarises the preparations for each of the stopovers.

“At San Sebastian Airport, since last month we have been reviewing with AENA the schedules and the allocation of resources. The start of Easter Week coincides with a special operation due to the ORONA shareholders’ meeting at EAS. And on the 8th, 2 new Volotea routes will be inaugurated. We are setting up an additional counter to improve check-in times, reinforcing shifts to cover the airport’s operating hours. We have managed the transfer of a conveyor belt from Madrid-Barajas to EAS to cover peak activity.
In Pamplona, all check-in and boarding counters that have not been used throughout the year are being reviewed; we are reinforcing shifts to cover practically the airport’s operating hours; we are holding meetings with AENA to analyse the most critical days, such as 8 (ORONA event), 13, 14 and 18 April.
And at Vitoria airport, although there is no increase in scheduled activity for the summer, we have special Easter Week operations on 13, 14 and 18 April. We also dispatch with AENA to control the scheduling and slot allocation; and we support the operation with staff from Pamplona”.

Iberia Airport Services, ready to take off with each of our customers.

Happy Easter!

In 2015 Iberia Airport Services (IBAS) became the leading provider of ramp handling services to third parties in the Aena network, with a presence at 29 airports, including Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Alicante, Asturias, Bilbao, Gerona, Gran Canaria, Ibiza, Menorca, Reus, Santiago de Compostela, Tenerife North and Tenerife South. Among Aena’s 20 largest airports, it is only absent in Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Seville, Valencia and the tandem La Gomera-El Hierro. We interviewed José Luis de Luna, who is the director of airports at IBAS, the company he has been working for for almost nine years, although he has 30 years’ experience in the sector, having previously worked for Aena and FCC airport services companies such as Eurohandling and Flightcare.

What responsibilities does your position within Iberia Airport Services entail?

At Iberia I started as airport network manager, being responsible for all the facilities except Madrid. Now my position as airport director occupies all the airports, the 29 that we obtained from the 2015 tenders. My commitment, so to speak, is complete. I am responsible for the income statement, i.e. the economic result that the handling business has to deliver. Also from the point of view of operations, operational safety, human resources, training, the commercial side, etc.

What are the figures for aircraft handled by Iberia Airport Services in 2020 and 2021 and what do they represent with respect to the reference year of 2019? What economic impact do these figures represent?

Indeed, 2019 is the year we now take as the benchmark year in all areas. At that time we set the milestone of exceeding 100 million passengers across the entire airport network on board some 450,000 aircraft (1), with a turnover of €470 million.

Then came the atypical 2020, which after its ups and downs accounted for only 40% of 2019 values.

In 2021, IBAS served 199,038 aircraft – up 43.8 per cent on 2020 – handled 32.9 million pieces of baggage – up 81.4 per cent – and handled more than 328,600 tonnes of freight, up 32 per cent on 2020. Financial figures are not yet available and will be published on 25 February. This year 2021 has had a continuous upward recovery curve, until the last two months, which have been weighed down by the appearance of the omicron variant of the virus. These figures mean that in 2021 we will have recovered around 70% of the values of 2019. For the same reason as omicron, the first two months of 2022 have been weak, but nevertheless the outlook for this year is optimistic: we expect to end up with similar or even better results than in 2021.

Other figures to take into account are those of staff and equipment. In 2019 we reached a peak of 9,000 people (we must take into account the high seasonality of some airports). Iberia Airport Services has a total of 8,500 pieces of equipment of all types, ranging from a push back tractor or a planter to a baggage trolley.

(1) weighted aircraft. This Aena concept is used, whereby each aircraft model has a value in ramp handling work, with a reference value for models equivalent to the A319. Regional aircraft, with simpler needs, are weighted below this value, while wide-body aircraft, which are much more complex, are weighted above it.

We have been clearly committed to sustainability and reducing CO2 emissions for some time now, and in recent years we have invested 100 million euros in renewing all our equipment”.

What was the hardest time during the pandemic alert and how did you manage the company’s staff and equipment?

The most complicated month was April 2020, with a 95% drop in activity, i.e. we only handled 5% of the traffic with several airports practically closed. May was very similar.

In terms of personnel, we were clear that we wanted to have a commitment to stability and quality of employment, which we have been able to maintain thanks to a tool made available by the State, such as the ERTE. In this way, apart from some contracts that were coming to an end and that we obviously could not renew, the workforce has not had any departures and has been reactivated little by little, as traffic has been recovering. In addition, we made a great effort to supplement the salary provided by the SEPE, up to 100%. In November 2020, this supplementary amount had to be reduced and from March 2021, given the company’s economic situation (Iberia ended up losing around 1.5 billion euros), it could no longer be maintained, although we must also consider that there were fewer and fewer workers in the ERTE and we even ended up removing all of them.

Regarding equipment, a preservation plan was put in place at all airports, so our maintenance provider had to stop and protect mechanical and other elements such as wheels. As far as possible, we tried to move them to more protected spaces, such as a workshop. Equipment that was left out in the open had to be completely covered with plastic sheeting. In turn, this work had to be reversed afterwards, with a de-preservation that was practically completed in 2021.

On the human side, I have to highlight the behaviour of our workers, just as happened with the storm Filomena; in the most complicated moments they have had an exemplary response.

What are your forecasts for market recovery in the short term (3-5 years)?

In our business plan, which we are currently implementing and which runs from 2022 to 2025, we are defining two clear phases. We consider 2022 and 2023 as two years of “crossing the desert”, still complicated, in which we do not believe we can still reach the levels of 2019 and, therefore, we will have to continue with some of the measures we have had to implement previously. When are we going to recover the values of 2019? If no new variants or unforeseen circumstances arise, almost certainly in 2024, or even at the end of 2023. This does not mean that, at specific moments, in certain months and at certain airports, we will achieve 100% of 2019 activity. In fact, this has already happened in 2021: Palma de Mallorca, for example, reached the 2019 level at certain times during the summer. Tenerife Norte even surpassed them. The smaller airports or those in the north are, on the other hand, the ones whose recovery is the most delayed. The other two years, 2024 and 2025, are expected to see a recovery in activity to similar or even higher levels than in 2019.

Aena will divide the concession of a total of 41 licences for the period 2023-2029 into 21 lots. How many are Iberia bidding for and what would be considered a good result?

We are leaders in Spain and we are going to bid for all the airports. Right now we are present in 29 facilities. Our ambition is to expand our presence to more airports, in addition to continuing in the ones where we are. Therefore, the minimum we aspire to is to repeat the same result as in 2015. Obviously Madrid and Barcelona are essential for us, as they are the hubs of Iberia and Vueling, respectively.

The draft specifications were in the hands of the handling companies for some time to make their final comments before the final document was published at the end of 2021. What contributions did Iberia make and have these been taken into account?

The draft was in the hands of all the actors, not only the handling agents, but also others such as airlines, equipment manufacturers, etc., individually and as a whole, through the sector’s employers’ association, ASEATA (association of ground handling services companies at airports), which distributed it to all its associates. On 30 November, which was the deadline, we presented our proposals.

We understand that Aena will take on board all these allegations and will add those it deems appropriate to the final specifications. We assume that the final specifications will be published before the summer so that we can prepare the bids and before the end of the year the tender is resolved, so that the new awardees can begin their work in the first half of 2023, fulfilling the commitment to renew the handling agents at the airports every seven years.

The evaluation of the bids will be balanced on a 50/50 basis between the technical and economic evaluation. We – and the rest of the companies as well – have made many comments related to this technical part, for example, regarding the electrification of the equipment, how Aena intends to deal with it, etc. We at ASEATA have asked for more value to be given to the technical part, which is what ultimately provides quality of service, as it includes operational safety, training, etc. We believe that it should weigh more in the weighting than the economic part. We have also detected some errors. For example, in the grouping of the lots, because there are airports that have a first licence in one lot and a second in another lot, which may create incompatibilities. If the first lot is awarded, it would not be possible to obtain the second lot.

We know that a large number of companies from other EU countries are going to apply, which means that there will be strong competition, more so than in other tenders. As part of Aena’s specifications, technical and economic solvency is being established so that the companies that apply can guarantee that, if they are awarded the contract, they will comply with the requirements of the bids submitted. Aena is very sensitive to ensuring that these bids are objective and transparent, in order to be able to choose the best and that the company that is chosen as the best is also the one that provides the best service. That this offer, which includes quality, job stability, sustainability, innovation, etc., is a reality during the seven years of service provision and does not just remain a “smoke and mirrors offer”.

The objectives set by the airport manager require that 23% of the fleets be sustainable by 2023, rising to a share of 78% by 2030. How will Iberia meet this requirement?

It is a challenge, and we have been clearly committed for years to sustainability and the reduction of CO2 emissions from the point of view of handling equipment and other measures. We have been pioneers, for example, in the introduction of the Mototok electric push-back tractor, which has accumulated more than 5,000 towed aircraft by 2021. There are currently four units in Barcelona and another four in Madrid, which are mainly used in the A320 family fleet, although we have just obtained certification – and we have also started to use it (2) – in the CRJ trailers, which will be very positive for Air Nostrum’s fleet and also for contributing to its own sustainability objectives. This is a very important milestone in which Iberia has participated in close collaboration with both the tractor and the aircraft manufacturer (Bombardier), which is the one that finally provides the certificate.

In order to meet these percentages, we are tackling a complete investment plan. We are not starting from scratch, we have already made significant investments to comply with the previous tender, an amount that almost reached 100 million euros to renew all our equipment, so we are in a position to fully meet the requirement of electrification of equipment. The tender gives a higher score if there is a number of electric vehicles per year, and we are considering exceeding these percentages in each family of equipment, working directly with the manufacturers. We plan to start with around 20% of the fleet and end the seventh year of the tender with 70%, more than meeting the requirements.

(2) The first towing of an Air Nostrum CRJ with a Mototok electric tractor took place on Tuesday 1 February at Madrid-Barajas. IBAS was the first in the world to use this handling equipment on this aircraft model.

Is everything based on electrification?

At the moment, we are not betting on hydrogen, not because we don’t believe in this technology – let’s be clear – but because the infrastructure that is linked to charging the equipment at airports is not sufficiently developed for it to be considered the optimal solution from our point of view, which doesn’t mean that it won’t be in the future.

As for biofuels, Iberia has signed an agreement as an airline with both Repsol and CEPSA for the use of this type of fuel in aviation, an agreement that is also extended for use in all handling equipment that is not electrified, although it is true that the use so far has been minimal, because the production of these fuels of sustainable origin is also still very small, but our commitment is to increase their use in the future.

Iberia’s great rival is Groundforce, owned by Globalia, which is present in places such as Madrid-Barajas, El Prat and Palma de Mallorca. Could the (now partial) takeover process involving Iberia and Air Europa affect these two handling companies and the competitiveness between them?

The sale process has changed a lot since the initial agreement and we do not yet know what the outcome of the negotiations will be. The perimeter of the operation initially did not go beyond the airline and, therefore, did not include Groundforce. But without knowing yet what the outcome of this new move will be, I cannot answer this question. So, first of all, we have to see what the final agreement is, whether Groundforce is included in it or not, as well as what agreements Air Europa will have signed with Groundforce, in case part of Air Europa becomes part of Iberia.

“Through the Go Up project over the last three years we have digitised many processes on the ramp to increase the efficiency of our operations”.

Anything else to add to the above that you think is also important?

In terms of sustainability, the technological innovation on the ramp that has been implemented in the airline’s transformation plan is also important. The company launched in 2018 the Go Up project, to digitise and increase the efficiency of its operations with a large number of initiatives. We have three very, very important projects, which directly affect IBAS. We have changed the operating system from a media management point of view. We contracted SITA to develop a tool, their brand name is AMS, but we have called it Kepler, a real-time ramp task management application. Kepler manages all the parameters related to a handling operation, both at equipment and human level, and some of its modules can even interact with airlines or Aena, providing data for their own control. This tool has been of great help to Vueling, which represents 75-80% of our total operations in Barcelona, being elected low cost company of the year, as well as the most punctual in Europe. Similarly, Barcelona airport was among the five most punctual airports in Europe in 2021.

Another of our tools is related to mobility. We want to provide our agents with mobile devices with access to Microsoft’s O365 platform, which integrates several functionalities in a single device. Access to operational documentation of the companies, its use as a transmitter or walkie-talkies, interaction with chats and bots for quick consultations or the completion of forms and reports in real time in an agile and dynamic way are some of the applications that we are already achieving.

The third is the Iris project, which provides access to the automation of our Cargo Control Centre (CLC) for issuing the load sheet, making it mobile on the aircraft. It allows it to be updated in real time directly on the mobile application, by the load coordinator or supervisor.

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