Iberia was unanimously named “Universal Spaniard 2016” and it becomes the first company to win the 20-year-old annual award given by the Fundación Independiente, as the airline has contributed to publicize Spain’s image around the world since the airline’s founding in 1927.
This year Iberia is also celebrating the 70th anniversary of its first flight to Latin America, whereby it became a veritable “air bridge” amongst nations sharing the Iberian Spanish or Portuguese languages.
On receiving notification of the award, Iberia’s Chairman and CEO, Luis Gallego, said “It is an honour to have been distinguished by this award, which has been given to some of our country’s most outstanding individuals, and to be the first company so honoured in the history of these awards. Iberia carries the image of Spain to all the countries we serve. It’s in our DNA, on the fuselage of all our aircraft, and in our name.”
The president of the foundation, Ignacio Buqueras y Bach, said: “this year we decided that Iberia deserved this recognition for its continuing efforts to spread Spain’s image and values. The company is known all over the world and is associated with Spain. Wherever you happen to be in the world, as soon as you step into an Iberia airplane you feel at home.”
Ceremony at La Muñoza
The award ceremony will take place on 7 November at Iberia’s installations at Madrid airport, during a event sponsored by Airbus, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial airplanes, and by Specialist of technical watches and official supplier to aviation, Breitling is a leader in the field of wrist chronographs.
The “Universal Spaniard” awards have been given over the past 20 years to Spaniards who helped to spread the image of Spain abroad.
Previous winners include the late author Camilo José Cela, tenor Plácido Domingo, humanitarian Vicente Ferrer, scientist Federico Mayor Zaragoza, biochemist Margarita Salas, pop singer Julio Iglesias, cyclist Miguel Induráin, astronaut Pedro Duque, humanitarian Padre Ángel, tennis player Rafael Nadal, cardiologist Valentín Fuster, and engineer, lawyer, and entrepreneur Juan-Miguel Villar. In 2014 and 2015 the foundation gave the award to the Spanish language itself, as repressed by some 39 schools and institutions.