Puerto Rico government officials welcomed Sunday the return of Spanish airline Iberia, which has resumed direct flights after a three-year absence.
Iberia has scheduled three weekly direct flights between Madrid and San Juan through October, which will represent an economic boost for the island of $21.2 million, Tourism Co. Executive Director Ingrid Rivera-Rocafort said.
“We’re very happy to welcome Iberia to Puerto Rico. After several years of absence and negotiations we reestablished ties with this prestigious airline,” she said, following the landing of the A330-200 aircraft, which has been baptized by the name of Puerto Rico, to the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport.
The carrier’s itinerary opens the doors for connections between Puerto Rico and more than 90 cities across Europe, “which is a great benefit for both tourism and business,” she said. “The return of Iberia is one more example of all the efforts of this administration to promote the tourism industry and air access.”
It is expected that these new flights will generate an influx of some 7,500 European tourists in the first season alone, which will mean an injection of about $21.2 million, she added.
As part of the new business, Tourism and Iberia have reached an agreement to promote Puerto Rico as a tourist destination in Europe, which will attract more visitors with a greater variety of interests. At present, passengers from flights arriving from Europe reflect an increase of 25 percent so this fiscal year, she said.
Iberia abandoned the Puerto Rico market in 2013 due to economic problems.