Vueling to offer 370,000 more seats through Barcelona Airport this winter

The Catalan low cost airline, which is based in Barcelona, has announced new destinations from Barcelona, as well as an increase in frequency on other routes. Vueling’s President, Josep Piqué, presented the airline's latest news for next season. He also said that a low cost airline like Vueling is the only airline capable of stopping Ryanair’s expansion in Barcelona, in a clear reference to Spanair.

CNA / Bertran Cazorla

October 5, 2011 12:06 AM

El Prat del Llobregat (ACN).- This week the low cost airline Vueling presented the destinations and frequencies for next season. Vueling will increase its offer leaving from or arriving at Barcelona El Prat Airport by 370,000 seats. Vueling, which has its headquarters in Greater Barcelona, will start operating new routes, linking Barcelona with Nantes, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Genoa, Zurich and Pisa. The Catalan company, which is partially owned by Iberia, will increase the number of flights between Barcelona and Moscow, Milan, Bilbao and Amsterdam. With these movements, Vueling fosters its presence in the French market, which is considered strategic for the Catalan company. In addition, it also strengthens some of its European bases, such as Amsterdam and Toulouse. The corporate news was presented by Vueling’s President Josep Piqué and the airline CEO Alex Cruz. Piqué emphasised Barcelona Airport's competitiveness needs of a stronger competitor to the low cost airline Ryanair, which landed in Barcelona in 2010 for the first time and very quickly became one of the main airlines operating at the airport. Piqué was referring to the low-interest credits the Catalan Government gave to Spanair, one of Vueling’s competitors. Vueling’s chairman is against those credits.

Vueling will open new routes from Barcelona El Prat and will also increase the number of flights on some of the routes already open. In addition, the company already enables flight connections through Barcelona, despite being a low cost airline. Vueling has a strategy of being considered a different low cost airline, being also attractive for businesspeople by increasing destinations and frequencies, as well as offering flight connections. Since its origins, Vueling has been flying to the main airports and has been offering top European destinations. Now that it has consolidated this model, it has expanded by linking its main bases to secondary destinations, such as Nice, Pisa and Bordeaux. The Catalan airline wants to foster its main bases, and also its presence in France.

In total, the company will offer 370,000 more seats this winter going through Barcelona. Firstly by increasing the number of flights with Moscow and in total, the number of seats will increase by 117%, offering a total of 24,453 seats between Barcelona and the Russian capital. Milan will also have more connections with the Catalan capital, 40% more. Barcelona will increase its connections with Bilbao by 18% and with Amsterdam by 14%. Weekly flights between Barcelona and Amsterdam will go from 21 to 25 connections. This way, Vueling fosters Amsterdam Schiphol Airport as one of its European bases.

More presence in France

France is one of the markets where the Catalan low cost airline is aiming to grow. Vueling already had this objective years ago, when it opened a base in Toulouse and in Paris-Orly. However, now that demand in Spain has decreased, the airline wants to strengthen its presence in France, explained Piqué.

To reach this objective, Vueling will link Barcelona with Nantes, Bordeaux and Toulouse. In addition, it will begin to operate four new routes from France: Paris-Zurich, Toulouse-Lille, Toulouse-Venice and Toulouse-Nice. Vueling will thus be present in six Fench cities and will increase its capacity in this country by 23%.