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Why is Iberia so punctual? We interviewed the company’s production director to find out how it’s done

For the second year in a row, Iberia is the most punctual airline in the world. So says FlightGlobal, the main source for news, data, knowledge and experience in the global aviation community. We talk with Rafa Hoyos, Iberia’s production director, so he can tell us the key to the company’s excellent results in punctuality worldwide.

How does a company become the most punctual in the world?

The main change has been the employees’ commitment and will to be the most punctual. A change of attitude supported by new processes.

How does one get employees to have such a clear commitment?

We’ve tried to get the message out to them that they are the true architects in achieving the company’s goals and in the need to offer our customers something that sets us apart, something that makes us stand out from the rest. In an environment as competitive as this, punctuality plays a fundamental role in terms of the other competitors and is always perceived as a sign of quality and commitment to our customers.

What processes have changed?

New processes and systems support the human component, which is the main one. Punctuality is won on the layover, so the processes on the ground have to be well-defined and well-structured. In addition, we’ve set up a daily punctuality committee that analyses the entire operation. It never looks for guilty parties. Instead, it identifies areas for improvement. There are also two new management areas (Ground Operations and Operator Technique), that take part in and control potential handling and maintenance incidents that can affect punctuality. We’ve involved the technical and auxiliary crews more, and we’ve integrated the Operations Control Centre more harmoniously, bringing together the various teams involved in decision-making about operations.

And in systems?

We’ve simplified the systems which control the progress of operations for both crew and aircraft. What’s more, the arrival of Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) technology will, over the course of 2018, allow us to send the captain all the information (on the weather or the flight) in real time, which will save time on the layover.

How can Iberia keep its top spot in punctuality?

With the commitment of all those who, in one way or another, are in direct contact with the operation; with their will to make it happen. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. There are no magic formulas.