Catalan airline Vueling to open new operating base in Paris Orly
The airline Vueling, which has its main base at Barcelona’s El Prat Airport, has a network of permanent operating bases, to which Paris Orly will be added if French authorities give the green light. Vueling’s Chairman, Josep Piqué, announced that a minimum of six planes will be based at France’s second airport. Across the 21 routes it has in France, the airline estimates that it will carry 26% more passengers in 2011 when compared to last year.
Paris (ACN) .- Vueling continues with its expansion, after already having set up a permanent base at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. Vueling’s Chairman, Josep Piqué, said: “Now we have a healthy company, with zero debt, accumulating two years of profits and good cash flow levels; we think it is the moment to recuperate this ambition in France.” The Catalan airline listed France as one of its strategic markets years ago. It has already opened a permanent base in Toulouse and now it plans to open a second at Paris Orly. “There is the problem of time slot limitations due to environmental reasons, but in some months we could achieve it”, explained Piqué. “If it depended only on our decision, we would make it happen straight away”, he added. The company’s chairman said that the French authorities had shown a great predisposition during the negotiations and that the final license could arrive in a few months. Vueling wants a permanent base at Paris Orly, operating a minimum of six planes. Vueling estimates it will carry 2 million passengers this year, via the 21 routes it has arriving or departing from France alone, which represents 26% more than figures from 2010.
Since 2004, Vueling has carried almost 9 million passengers via the 21 routes it currently has in France. However, 2011 will be a record year: the company estimates it will carry 2 million passengers with France as its departure or destination point, which means 26% more than in 2010. The company foresees continued growth in the French market from 2012 onwards, although they are aware that the levels would probably be moderated. “Growing at a 26% annual rate will be very difficult to maintain, but we won’t give up”, stated Piqué.
11 new routes in France this summer
Josep Piqué took the opportunity to explain that Vueling is creating 11 new routes in France this summer. Barcelona and Bordeaux will be connected. Paris will be connected with Palma de Mallorca and A Coruña, and Toulouse with Barcelona, Málaga, Ibiza, Tenerife, Palma de Mallorca, Nice, Prague and Venice.
Vueling increased its profit by 66% in 2010
Last year, Vueling made a profit of 45.99 million euros, up 66% on 2009. However, during the first quarter of 2011, Vueling lost 23 million euros, mainly due to the 41% increase in the price of fuel and because Easter holidays fell in April, not in the first term. The company’s managers, however, are optimistic about the global 2011 results.