American begins Miami-Barcelona flights
By Scott Blake
American Airlines' first flight from Barcelona arrived in Miami on Tuesday, signaling the start of new service to Spain.
American's new Barcelona-Miami route initially will be four roundtrips a week before expanding to daily roundtrips in June, said American spokeswoman Martha Pantin.
Already, America Airlines operates roundtrips between Miami and Madrid, "so service [to Spain] is actually increasing," Ms. Pantin said.
When the American Airlines flights to Barcelona increase to seven days a week in June, Miami International Airport will offer a total of 24 flights a week between Miami and Spain, said Miami International spokesman Greg Chin.
In addition to the new Barcelona service, America operates a daily roundtrip to Madrid.
Also, Spanish carrier Iberia operates a daily roundtrip between Miami and Madrid on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, and two roundtrips a day on Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday, Mr. Chin said.
Service between Miami International and Spain has been increasing in recent years.
In 2010, Miami offered about 14 flights a week to Spain, which increased to about 21 a week last year, according to Chris Mangos, Miami International's marketing director.
"The Spain-Miami market is growing… despite the economic situation on both sides of the Atlantic," Mr. Mangos said in a statement to Miami Today.
In 2009, for example, Miami International handled 345,942 passengers on flights to and from Spain. That number grew to 395,722 in 2010, Mr. Mangos said.
"Not a gigantic increase, but nonetheless, good growth [when] keeping the US and Spain economies in mind," he added.
Passenger counts for 2011 were not immediately available.
Another carrier, Air Europa, started service between Miami and Spain in 2010, but the airline has since ended those flights, Mr. Chin said.
Overall, Barcelona is the 111th city that American and subsidiary American Eagle serve from Miami. Barcelona also is the fourth European city that American serves directly from Miami — the others according to Mr. Chin being London, Madrid and Paris.
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