posted on 31st Mar 2023 10:34
On 31 March 2023 Iryo started providing commercial services to Córdoba, Sevilla and Málaga, thus becoming the first private rail operator to venture into this autonomous community on a regular basis, and breaking Renfe's monopoly.
With Andalucía being a major tourist destination, the operator is hoping to attract around 2.5 million passengers annually, and has initially taken on a further 60 employees within the autonomous community to handle sales, promotions, bookings and operations - by early April the operator had 505 employees, of which 102 are drivers.
It is anticipated that Iryo passengers will spend up to 350 million EUR annually in their holiday destinations. In the longer term Iryo is hoping to carry up to 8 million passengers annually on all its services (to Catalunya, Levante and Andalucía), generating leisure expenditure in these destinations of around 2 billion EUR annually.
On 30 March an inaugural run was made from Madrid to Córdoba and Sevilla, with a prolonged stop at Córdoba. Here the city's mayor, José María Bellido, observed: "It is always great news that Córdoba will increase its possibilities for welcoming new visitors ... we welcome these initiatives which favour the city's tourism potential, and which will connect us, via high speed train services, to other major cities in the country. I wish Iryo all the luck in the world in this venture."
On arrival in Sevilla, the train was greeted by the Autonomous Government representative Isabel Mayo López, who commented: "The arrival of Iryo in Andalucía is a great boost to sustainable mobility in our province. The Spanish Government has led the liberalization of the passenger rail market, resulting in an increase in services, a greater range of facility provision and a significant reduction in fares."
Carlos Bertomeu, Iryo President, said: "It is now only 15 days to the 31st anniversary of the first high speed train services between Madrid and Sevilla, so now we are once again making history. Thanks to our work, Iryo has broken the monopoly of rail service provision in Andalucía. Our unique concepts of sustainability, customer care, multi-modal travel and the journey experience in itself define our company. We hope to become the preferred mobility option for all those who, for leisure or work purposes, travel to or from Andalucía."
InItially, there will be two train pairs between Madrid and Málaga and Madrid and Sevilla. These will be gradually increased so that, from 2 June, there will be six train pairs between Madrid and Sevilla and five pairs between Madrid and Málaga. Also, from 2 June, two services will call at Antequera, between Córdoba and Málaga. On 15 June 2023, Iryo will also introduce a stop at Camp de Tarragona on some of its Madrid to Barcelona services.
By 20 March 2023, Iryo had 109.004 to 014 in service, 109.001 to 003 on test, while 109.015 to 020 were still being built.