Catalan airline Vueling increases its net profit by 8.4% in 2011

Vueling had a net profit of €10.4 million last year. This marks a clear improvement of 8.4% on its results from 2010 despite the 40% price increase in fuel. Vueling transported 11.6% more passengers in total, and 9% through its European routes last year. The Catalan company reached in 2011 its passenger record, with more than 12.3 million people transported.


February 28, 2012 10:16 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan airline Vueling had a net profit of €10.4 million last year, according to the company, which presented its results on Tuesday. Vueling’s net profit experienced an 8.4% increase compared to its 2010 results, despite the significant 38% price increase in fuel prices. Therefore, the Barcelona-based airline has been in profit the last three years. Vueling’ CEO, Àlex Cruz, said that the Catalan company is the only airline in Spain earning a profit, and one of only three in the entire European Union. Vueling managed to improve its 2011 net profit thanks to an 11.6% rise in the number of passengers. Those using its European routes increased by 9%, while the number of passengers from the Spanish market grew by 6%. Vueling was Barcelona El Prat Airport’s top airline for passenger figures in 2011. Its turnover reached €863.5 million, which is 8.4% more than 2010. Vueling’s occupancy rate improved by 2.4 percentage points in 2011, from 73.2% in 2010 to 75.6% in 2011. Vueling transported a total of 12.32 million passengers, which represented a new record for the Catalan company.

The activity and occupancy growth is due to the positive response of Vueling´s recently opened international operations base in Toulouse and Amsterdam, as well as the good behaviour in Barajas, where Vueling “feeds” Iberia’s intercontinental flights with passengers.

One of the difficulties in 2011 was the significant increase in fuel prices, which grew by 38% last year, because of a 40% increase in oil prices. Brent’s oil barrel (the reference within the European market) cost $112.1 on average in 2011, compared to $79.9 in 2010. Vueling’s CEO refused to issue a forecast of the company’s results for 2012 precisely because of the volatility in oil prices. Last Friday, the Brent oil barrel reached $126. However, Cruz pointed out that if oil prices continue to increase, many European airlines would be in serious problems, since they already had red numbers in 2011.

Vueling foresees gaining 4 million passengers from Spanair

Cruz said that Spanair’s bankruptcy would shape 2012. Without its main competitor, Vueling wants to make a big profit and set up new routes to occupy as many as possible of Spanair’s former routes. According to Cruz’s calculations, Spanair left 6 million seats empty; Vueling expects to take 4 million. Cruz is convinced that between 72% and 90% of the seats left by Spanair (depending on the route) will be retrieved by another airline, and will not be lost.

Cruz also explained that Vueling increased the number of connections from Barcelona El Prat Airport, opening 23 new routes in 2011, such as to Scandinavia and Galicia. From the Catalan capital’s airport, Vueling flies to 66% of all its destinations. Furthermore, Cruz expects to reach 1 million Vueling passengers connecting through Barcelona El Prat Airport, an “ambitious” figure he said.