AENA and its unions announced they will continue negotiations aimed at preventing 22 days of industrial action after the two parties failed to reach agreement on Thursday (Typically Spanish, 10-Mar-2011). Unions described the meeting as "disappointing", as there was no representative of the Development Ministry present. AENA has offered to transfer the current collective agreement to the new company AENA Aeropuertos, but the two sides are clashing over concessions at Madrid Barajas and Barcelona El Prat airports.
Still no agreement at AENA
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Qatar Airways and Vueling to codeshare as LCC partnerships establish new models
Partnerships of any kind between Europe's principal LCCs and full service airlines are rare. The new codeshare between Qatar Airways and Vueling builds on the interline deal signed between the two in Oct-2014. Moreover, it marks a further deepening of the relationship between the Doha-based super connector and IAG, of which it now owns 20%. Vueling joins IAG-owned airline British Airways in codesharing with Qatar Airways, but the new agreement is more extensive.
Vueling is now carrying Qatar Airways' QR code on 67 European routes. These routes are from/to Barcelona El Prat and Rome Fiumicino, which are Vueling's two biggest bases, and both served twice daily by Qatar Airways from Doha. The accord significantly expands Qatar's offline network, but the value of this and two-stop connections is difficult to gauge.
Spain aviation and LCCs: 2016 traffic above pre-crisis levels, but capacity surplus unsustainable
After suffering a protracted recession in 2009 to 2013, Spain's air travel market at last looks set to exceed its pre-crisis passenger numbers in 2016, albeit with something of an airline capacity glut. During the recession traffic was actually remarkably robust, thanks to buoyant inbound tourism and the growth of LCCs.
Europe's third largest aviation market by seats is dominated by short haul, with long haul strongly skewed towards trans-Atlantic routes (North and South) – principally operated by a resurgent Iberia and Air Europa. For long haul connections elsewhere Spain relies on other European hubs, although Iberia has re-entered Asia Pacific with Madrid-Shanghai, and plans a Tokyo service. The superconnectors have yet to make a big impression in Spain, but this may change.
Ryanair has been the largest airline by seats in Spain since 2013, the result of its own growth and also of second ranked Iberia's restructuring. IAG's other Spanish airline – the fast-growing Vueling – has been the country's number three ranked airline since 2010, pushing Air Europa into fourth. Madrid has remained Spain's largest airport, but Barcelona's growth has outpaced Madrid's. Spain's airport operator AENA is benefiting from double-digit growth this year, but airlines are suffering yield declines.