Vueling announced (28-Jun-2012) it carried its 50 millionth passenger since commencing operations on 01-Jul-2012. The Spanish airline currently operates 152 routes across 74 airports in Europe, Middle East and North Africa using a fleet of 59 aircraft including 57 A320s and two A319s. Vueling marketing director Lluís Pons said, “We are very happy to have reached the figure of 50 million passengers. This figure undoubtedly represents a major milestone for the company, especially in these difficult times where Vueling has opted to grow both in number of routes and flights.” [more - original PR]
Vueling carries 50 millionth passenger since commencing operations on 01-Jul-2004
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Palma de Mallorca Airport: new Eurowings base in price-sensitive market; capacity is accelerating
The announcement by Eurowings that it plans to establish a base with two aircraft at Palma de Mallorca Airport next spring focuses attention on Spain's number three airport by passenger numbers. One of Europe's most important airports for LCC capacity, Palma is also very dependent on the summer schedule. The low point of the winter schedule has 78% fewer seats than the peak summer week.
Traffic at the airport held up relatively well during the second phase of Spain's 'double-dip' recession in 2011 to 2013, but its passenger growth has lagged that of the country as a whole since then. The mix of airlines has been in some flux, with Palma's leading airline airberlin gradually losing share to LCCs and the seat-only sales of charter airlines. Ryanair, number two at the airport, has returned to capacity growth there in 2016 after two years of cuts.
Eurowings' new base at Palma in May-2017 will follow the establishment of bases at the airport by easyJet and Norwegian in 2016. It is certainly a market that seems to attract the interest of Europe's leisure-focused airlines, but strong capacity growth at Palma (and elsewhere in Spain) increases the downward pressure on yields in a price-sensitive market.
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.