Iberia Airlines, Spanish flag carrier, has suspended its flights to Istanbul, a major city in Turkey, owing to low demand.
Reputed as Spain’s largest airline, Iberia also plans to suspend flights to Nigeria from May 12, 2016 and Ghana from May 17, “due to drop of demand and lack of profitability”, FTN, a Turkish media outfit, has reported.
Checks by TheCable revealed that Iberia Airlines flights from Nigeria will now be handled by British Airways, its partner, after the suspension.
The carrier had initially suspended Madrid-Istanbul flights in 2013 and restarted in June 2014, only to suspend again, with promise to refund or change tickets of passengers that purchased tickets for flights after May 7.
For the Nigerian market, many international airlines are groaning under the lack of foreign exchange to repatriate ticket sales.
The forex problem is further compounded by scarcity of aviation fuel, forcing many airlines to re-fuel at Nigeria’s neighbouring countries.
Shifting its focus from Nigeria, Ghana, and Turkey, Iberia is looking to the South African market for profits.
In a statement by the airline, flights to Johannesburg, the capital of South Africa, will resume on August 1, 2016.
“Starting on 1st August 2016, there will be three return flights per week in new 278-seat A330-300s, equipped with Iberia’s new long-haul cabins. With this flight, the airline has resumed all the routes it left to restructure,” Iberia said.
“The flight schedule will facilitate connections to more than 100 destinations in the Iberia network. Apart from Spain, Portugal, Cuba, the U.S., the U.K, Italy, Germany and Switzerland will be the main countries to feed this flight.
“On board of these flights, Iberia will also carry freight, such as perishable goods, mainly fish from South Africa. Iberia will fly to Johannesburg three times a week, on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays, and return on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.”