Iberia Express resumes Cardiff to Madrid route

Cardiff Airport has announced that Spanish low-cost airline Iberia Express has resumed its direct flights between Cardiff and Madrid.

Starting from June 14 until September 21, the airline will operate twice a week, every Thursday and Sunday. The addition of this route to Iberia Express’ 2018 summer programme for the second year comes after its success last summer both in the UK and Spain, offering passengers more onward connections from Madrid’s Barajas airport.

Trevor Martin, Chief Commercial Officer of Iberia Express said: ‘We are very pleased to be starting our service on the Cardiff-Madrid route today and hope that our customers are as thrilled with its return for a second year. We will continue to offer our fantastic service on board and value for money to one of Europe’s most vibrant capital cities. We look forward to welcoming our customers on board.’

Deb Barber, CEO of Cardiff Airport, added: ‘Iberia Express came to Cardiff as a new airline partner last summer with an exciting new route to a capital city airport which is also a busy hub for connecting passengers. After positive feedback we’re really pleased that the airline has returned for a second year of flying passengers from Wales to the Spanish capital, and onwards to key destinations across South America.’

On Thursdays, the flight will depart from Cardiff at 18.35, arriving at Madrid by 21.50; and on return, leave Madrid by 16:55 and arrive at Cardiff by 18.05. On Sundays, the flight will depart from Cardiff at 10.25, arriving at Madrid by 13.40; and on return, leave Madrid by 08.45 and arrive at Cardiff by 09.50. Tickets for this seasonal route are available at iberiaexpress.com as well as via other Iberia Group sales channels, with prices starting from £42 each way when purchasing a round trip, Cardiff Airport said.

The direct flight to the Madrid hub will create options for travellers from Wales’ national airport to fly onward to South America.

Iberia Express announces early release of Madrid flights from Cardiff for Champions League fans

Iberia Express has released its latest schedule of flights to Madrid from Cardiff Airport one week early for customers travelling to watch the finals of UEFA Champions League, the Airport said in a release.

The direct Cardiff – Madrid route will begin operating on Thursdays and Sundays from June 1, with the addition of an extra flight departing on June 4. With fares starting from GBP43 one way, the early release allows sports fans looking to travel to Madrid to watch the finals between Real Madrid and Juventus to combine their trip with a short holiday. A popular destination for business travellers and tourists, Madrid is famous for its art museums, good food and of course its football teams.

The new Iberia Express route will also connect customers to other Iberia Group destinations via Madrid including the Spanish cities of Alicante, Asturias, Bilbao, Gran Canaria, Granada or Seville; Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, as well as Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile, Medellin, Havana, Mexico City, Miami and New York in the Americas.

Trevor Martin, Chief Commercial Officer of Iberia Express, said, ‘We are very excited to have a team from Madrid playing in the Champions League final; it’s quite an accomplishment that two Madrid teams have reached the semi-finals.

‘This route shows our commitment to the British market, and will offer connectivity from Wales to many destinations via Iberia’s extensive network in Madrid.’

Deb Barber, Chief Executive Officer of Cardiff Airport said: ‘The UEFA Champions League final is a huge event for Wales, and the arrival of Iberia Express as a new airline with a brand new service to Madrid couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. It’s great to see the airline responding to market demand by bringing the flights forward and adding an extra service too, making it even easier for fans to fly into Wales’ national airport or to fly out and enjoy the atmosphere of the game in Madrid.’

Iberia Express presently operates a total of seven routes from the United Kingdom: five to Madrid from London Gatwick, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and the new one from Cardiff, as well as routes connecting London Heathrow with Asturias and Gran Canaria. In total, Iberia Express connects the Spanish capital to different British cities with an average of 33 weekly frequencies.

Crossrail in legal wrangle over Heathrow stop

A legal row between the developers of London’s £15 billion Crossrail underground railway project and the operators of Heathrow Airport could result in trains not stopping at the nation’s busiest airport.

Currently, Heathrow Express trains run on 5 miles of track that the airport laid at a cost of £1 billion. Crossrails’ arrival means that that service will no longer be viable. The Times has reported that because of this, the airport’s investment fund owners are looking to recoup their investment by charging £570 for every Crossrail train that uses the track, in addition to standing fees of around £107 per train.

According to transport officials and the rail watchdog, such charges have no justification and they fear that their imposition would cost Crossrail £42 million per year and result in higher ticket charges. A decision on the wrangle is now with a High Court judge whose judgement is expected imminently.

If the decision goes against Crossrail, Transport for London have drawn up contingency plans to terminate the trains a few miles short of the airport, forcing travellers to change to alternative trains but meaning that Crossrail would avoid paying the fees. In fact, Crossrail is already believed to have earmarked a location somewhere near the airport where the trains could be turned around for the return journey or continue travelling west.

Heathrow told the Times: ‘We need to ensure that track access charges are fair, and are waiting on a ruling from the courts.’

Crossrail is expected to be ready to operate by December 2019.


Iberia Express launches new route to Madrid from Cardiff Airport

Iberia Express, the low cost airline of the Iberia Group, has launched a new flight service from Cardiff to Madrid as part of its 2017 summer programme.

The airline will start flying to the Spanish capital this Easter, from April 6 to 16, and will resume the flights from June 8 to September 28, 2017. The airline will offer two weekly frequencies to Madrid on Thursdays and Sundays, with prices from £43.00, and from £155 in Business, Cardiff Airport said in a release.

Customers will also be able to connect via Madrid and continue their trip to other Iberia Group destinations covering 20 Spanish cities, such as Alicante, Asturias, Bilbao, Gran Canaria, Granada or Seville; Lisbon and Porto in Portugal, Johannesburg, Dakar and Malabo, Tel Aviv, and Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Santiago de Chile, Medellin, Havana, Mexico City, Miami and New York in the Americas.

Alexandra Sabate, Head of Network Planning and Scheduling of Iberia Express said: ‘This new route from Cardiff to Madrid, which we are inaugurating today, shows our commitment to the British market and reinforces our presence in the United Kingdom. Iberia Express is the only airline that directly connects these two great cities, improving the connectivity of Wales to Iberia’s extensive network, and offering a variety of destinations at very competitive prices with high standards of quality and service’. 

Deb Barber, Chief Executive Officer of Cardiff Airport said: ‘We’d like to extend a warm, Welsh welcome to our new airline Iberia Express and its addition of a brand new route to the Spanish capital of Madrid – a destination that’s been highly sought by our customers for a long time. With conveniently timed flights available at good prices, the service is ideal for short city breaks to discover all that the city has to offer.

‘Likewise, we look forward to welcoming even more visitors from Spain to our country during what is a very exciting year for Wales – the home nation of Real Madrid star player Gareth Bale and host city for the UEFA Champions League final 2017. With UNESCO listed, stunning mountain ranges, miles of award-winning coastline and a bustling city-scape within easy reach, there are many reasons to visit Wales using our national Airport as the gateway.’

Iberia Express already operates a total of seven routes from UK airports – five to Madrid from London Gatwick, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and the new one from Cardiff, as well as routes connecting London Heathrow with Asturias and Gran Canaria. In total, Iberia Express connects the Spanish capital to different British cities with an average of 33 weekly frequencies.

DJ Greg James invited to spend day with Gatwick Express train drivers

BBC Radio 1 DJ, Greg James, has been called upon to spend a day with the Gatwick Express train drivers to see how the service functions.

The invitation, by a Gatwick Express employee, came after the DJ had compared the service to the Voyager-1 spacecraft, which has been out in space for 36 years. The employee has written to Crawley News, which published the original report stating that James was unimpressed with the train service.

‘And you thought the Gatwick Express was slow. Imagine the poor b*****s on Voyager 1. ‘How long is the journey again?’ ‘THIRTY SIX YEARS,’ the DJ reportedly told his Twitter followers. He also shared the Crawley News report, as more than 13,000 people read it in a matter of hours.

However, the news upset a Gatwick Express driver who decided to write to the news service, asking not to be named for fear of reprisals. He said how dismayed he was with James’ remarks and that he wanted the DJ to know the real story.

The copy of the driver’s letter, was published by Crawley News, as follows:

‘I am a train driver for the Gatwick Express and I am totally dismayed at the comments from DJ Greg James.

I would just like to put the record straight and let him know a few things which have led to the demise of the Gatwick Express from what it used to be.

We used to be top dogs in our operation and the service offered, but then, in 2008, we were bought out by Southern – and that’s when things started to change.

We no longer had priority over other train operators, therefore Southern began to put their own trains first, having priority over the Gatwick Express.

This meant that we would have to wait at certain parts of the journey to allow Southern trains to pass through first, hence why our journey now often takes longer than the normal 30 minutes.

But he would know this, wouldn’t he? Perhaps next time Greg wants to badmouth something – maybe he should research things first to get all the facts.

If he had ever travelled on the Gatwick Express before 2008, he would know and have seen the difference since we lost our own control of it.

We are employed by Southern and are governed by them – we have no say in it now, and us Gatwick Express drivers don’t like it anymore than our customers do.’

And urging James to spend the day with Gatwick Express drivers, he wrote: ‘May I suggest that next time he is at Victoria Station’s platform 13, that he contacts the Gatwick Express office to see if he can get permission to spend some time with us drivers and see for himself what we have to put up with.’

Heathrow Express to upgrade ticket machines

Heathrow Express has confirmed that it will work on the glitches with its ticket machine system.

Heathrow Express, which provides a non-stop rail service to Heathrow from central London’s Paddington station, was responding to a customer’s complaint via online business travel agency, Business Traveller, that rail card concessions could not be claimed online or at ticket machines.

The aggrieved passenger said that he was unable to purchase a senior concession ticket either online or on the train. Queuing at the ticket office was the only way to claim concessions. A senior rail card entitles the holder to 34 percent off full-fare tickets in Express Class or First Class. Day returns and carnets are not available on the senior rail card.

‘At the moment you cannot use senior citizen concession online or via the ticket machines – you can only get the concession at ticket offices. This is something we are looking into as part of a change to our ticket machines in 2014,’ said a spokesperson for Heathrow Express.

In addition to the likely delay caused to a passenger’s journey, the current situation is also disadvantageous for those who collect Heathrow Rewards points, formerly called BAA Worldpoints. These points can only be collected automatically by those booking Heathrow Express tickets online.

However, Business Traveller found that even though Heathrow Rewards points cannot be claimed when buying from the ticket office, members could claim points retrospectively, by producing the receipt. The facility applies for all tickets purchased using a discount rail-card, including 16-25 and Disabled Persons rail-cards.

Heathrow Express confirmed the situation saying: ‘It is also true that you cannot get Heathrow Rewards points at the ticket offices – they require an internet connection to make the Rewards machine work, which we do not have.

‘However, in these cases it is possible to send your receipt to Heathrow Rewards and have the points added retrospectively. We have done this a number of times for people in this situation and would always honour this.’