Vueling to fly to 23 new destinations from Barcelona Airport after increasing passenger numbers by 11.6% in 2011
The Catalan airline will invest €325 million in increasing the number of destinations and frequency of its flights from Barcelona El Prat Airport. Vueling will base 28 planes at Barcelona, after having bought 5 new aircraft. These initiatives demonstrate that Vueling continues with a strategy to consolidate Barcelona Airport as “a true hub” for intercontinental flights. The Catalan airline expects that up to 2 million of its passengers will change flights at Barcelona.
Barcelona (ACN).- The Catalan airline Vueling intends to consolidate Barcelona El Prat as a \u201Ctrue hub\u201D for intercontinental flights. On Thursday morning, Vueling announced that it will invest \u20AC325 million this summer by opening 23 new routes from Barcelona Airport, coinciding with the summer season and its demand increase. Vueling will have direct flights to 70 destinations from Barcelona from this summer and will link up to 900 destinations with flight connections through Barcelona El Prat Airport, including intercontinental flights. Vueling\u2019s President, Josep Piqué, announced the company expects that up to 2 million of its passengers will transfer at Barcelona Airport in 2012. On Wednesday, the Catalan airline released its passenger figures for 2011, which increased by 11.6% compared to the previous year. Last year, Vueling, which began operating as a low cost airline but offering more services, transported 12,315,721 passengers and had an occupancy rate of 75.6%.
Vueling will invest \u20AC325 million in the coming months coinciding with the opening of 23 new routes from Barcelona. The investment is the most important financial operation Vueling has gone through since it merged with Clickair in 2009. It will create 165 direct jobs, 150 of which will be crewmembers. Furthermore, the Catalan airline announced it would buy 5 new planes, 4 Airbus 320 and 1 Airbus 319. Vueling will thus have a total of 28 aircraft based at Barcelona El Prat Airport, which consolidates Vueling\u2019s position as the first airline based at Catalonia\u2019s main airport.
10 destinations not offered by any other airline
With the new planes, the Catalan airline will offer 23 new routes from Barcelona El Prat. The new flights will gradually become available from March, depending on the destination, until summertime, when all 23 routes will be open for business. The new routes represent a 17.5% increase in the number of destinations offered. 10 of the 23 new routes were not offered by any other airline. They are: San Sebastian, Almeria and Lanzarote, in Spain, and Nuremberg (Germany), Split (Croatia), Lourdes (France), Stavanger (Norway), Southampton (England), Edinburgh (Scotland), and Malmo (Sweden). Besides creating new routes, Vueling increases the frequency of other connections from Barcelona, such as those to Milan, Moscow, Pisa, Tenerife, and Las Palmas, among others.
Barcelona is Europe\u2019s fourth airport with the largest number of short and medium-distance connections
According to Vueling\u2019s President, Josep Piqué, the investment and the growth show the \u201Cambitious priority-set\u201D the company has set with \u201CBarcelona El Prat Airport, Barcelona, and Catalonia\u201D. Piqué stressed the importance of the airline\u2019s aim to transform the Catalan airport in to a \u201Ctrue hub\u201D, with a growth potential that would attract other international companies. Piqué added that Barcelona El Prat is Europe\u2019s fourth airport with the largest number of short and medium-distance connections. The first is Frankfurt, lead by Lufthansa; the second is Paris-Charles de Gaulle, lead by Air France, and the third is \u201Cwith a small difference\u201D, Madrid-Barajas, lead by Iberia.
11.6% more passengers in 2011
The Catalan airline transported a total of 12,315,721 passengers in 2011, which represents an 11.6% increase compared to the previous year, as stated in a press release by Vueling on Wednesday. It was the airline\u2019s best year for passenger numbers. Furthermore, the airline\u2019s occupancy rate (the number of seats occupied compared to those offered) reached 75.6%, while in 2010 it was 73.2%. December was a particularly good month for the airline, with 15.3% more passengers transported than in the same month in 2010. In December, 846,752 people flew with Vueling, with a 76.5% occupancy rate.