Airlines based in countries whose national teams made the semifinals in this year’s World Cup have scheduled extra flights between their European hubs and South African cities hosting games the semifinalists and finalists have played in or will play in. The flag carriers of the two countries remaining in the World Cup, the Netherlands and Spain, are each a member of one of the largest airline alliances in the world. And over the course of this week, the Dutch airline KLM added four flights each way between Johannesburg, where the Final will be played, and its European hubs of Amsterdam and Paris. The Spanish airline Iberia has not announced via its website, any intention to make additional flights to and from South Africa, as of the time of this post.
Several days ago, a Lufthansa spokesman said if the team from Germany won the World Cup, that they would fly back home on an Airbus A380. In the days since, Germany lost to Spain in the second semifinal match, and will play the team from Uruguay for third place. (It is unknown what airplane the team from Germany will use instead.)
Lufthansa was reconstituted in its present form in 1954. It is the German flag carrier, and is the largest airline headquartered in Europe, by number of passengers carried. Its headquarters is in Frankfurt. The Netherlands’ flag carrier KLM was formed in 1919, and flew its first flights the following year. It is headquartered in Amsterdam, and its main hub is that city’s Schiphol Airport (IATA: AMS; ICAO: EHAM). KLM merged with Air France in 2004, though both airlines retain their familiar logos and branding scheme. Iberia is the Spanish flag carrier, and was founded in 1927. It is based in the national capital of Madrid, and maintains its largest hub at Barajas Airport in Madrid (IATA: MAD; ICAO: LEMD). Iberia announced last year that it has reached a preliminary merger agreement with British Airways. The agreement between British Airways and Iberia was confirmed again this past April. The resulting business entity will be called International Consolidated Airlines Group, S.A. It is expected that the merger will be complete by the end of this year. Both Iberia and British Airways will retain their current logos and branding scheme.