Volotea fine tunes Europe’s most seasonal network; 51 of 54 airports served by its 717s in just four countries

Volotea advert.

Not exactly your typical approach to airline advertising. But then Volotea is not your typical airline, operating extremely seasonally with a fleet of 15 125-seat Boeing 717s on over 100 routes across southern Europe.

Volotea launched flights from its first base of Venice Marco Polo in Italy on 5 April 2012. Additional bases at Nantes in France, and Ibiza in Spain followed in June of that year, confirming the airline’s pan-European credentials. At that time the airline’s fleet consisted of seven 125-seat Boeing 717s. In its first season the airline launched over 80 routes, possibly an unprecedented achievement in the history of commercial aviation. This was possible as the vast majority of routes were served with just two or three weekly flights.

Europe’s most seasonal airline?

In some respects the airline has modelled itself on Allegiant Air in the US. Operating older aircraft on mostly uncontested routes, from smaller airports to warm and appealing leisure destinations at low frequency, only when demand exists. As a result, the airline is responsible for possibly Europe’s most seasonal operations. Based on schedule capacity data, in 2013 Volotea offered seven times as many seats in August as it did in February. In 2014, this ratio has grown even further to eight. Meanwhile, the airline’s fleet has grown to 15 717s. The airline has confirmed with anna.aero that the airline’s bases at Nantes and Venice are served by four aircraft each, with three aircraft in Bordeaux and two in Palermo. A ‘back-up’ aircraft is kept in Venice to cover operations there and in Palermo, while the final aircraft is kept ready at Nantes to cover that airport and Bordeaux.

Volotea seasonality Monthly seat capacity 2012-2014

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi.

In total, based on schedule data for 2013, Volotea offered just over two million seats on its own scheduled services. The airline confirmed to anna,aero this week that the airline carried 1.4 million passengers last year, indicating a load factor of around 70%. It also expects to carry around 1.8 million passengers in 2014.

Italian and French domestic routes account for over 50% of flights

Examining the airline’s network for this August (the airline’s busiest month), reveals that over 60% of the airline’s flights are operated on domestic routes in three countries; Italy, France and Spain. Italy-Greece is the biggest international market followed by France-Spain and France-Italy.

Volotea network Total flights in August 2014

Source: Innovata / Diio Mi for August 2014.

The average weekly frequency of the airline’s over 100 routes this summer is 3.5, unchanged from last August. This summer 11 routes will be served with at least daily flights with Venice-Olbia (12 weekly flights), Venice-Catania (11) and Nantes-Ajaccio (also 11) leading the way. The airline’s longest sector is its Nantes-Tenerife Sur service which is 2,490 kilometres in length.

54 airports welcoming Volotea flights in 2014; 17 in Italy, 15 in France

According to its on-line booking tool, Volotea is currently offering flights from a total of 54 airports, all but three of which are in just four countries; France, Greece, Italy and Spain. A summary of the airports served and the number of destinations available from each airport is provided in the following table.

Country Airports (number of routes)
Croatia (1) Split (1)
Czech Republic (1) Prague (1)
France (15) Ajaccio (8), Bastia (6), Biarritz (1), Bordeaux (16), Brest (2), Caen (1), Calvi (2), Figari (2), Grenoble (1), Lille (2), Montpellier (3), Nantes (20), Perpignan (1), Strasbourg (7), Toulouse (2)
Germany (1) Munich (2)
Greece (9) Corfu (1), Heraklion (2), Kos (1), Mykonos (4), Preveza (1), Rhodes (1), Samos (1), Santorini (4), Skiathos (2)
Italy (17) Ancona (3), Bari (7), Brindisi (1), Cagliari (2), Catania (4), Florence (4), Genoa (5), Lamezia Terme (1), Lampedusa (1), Naples (8), Olbia (7), Palermo (15), Pantelleria (1), Reggio Calabria (2), Turin (3), Venice Marco Polo (24), Verona (2)
Spain (10) Asturias (4), Bilbao (1), Fuerteventura (1), Ibiza (7), Malaga (2), Palma de Mallorca (9), Tenerife Sur (2), Valencia (4), Vigo (3), Zaragoza (2)
Source: Volotea booking tool as of 15 February 2014.
The airline’s four bases are highlighted in bold.

The total number of airports served is not significantly different from the number served in the airline’s first year of operation, 2012. However, since the summer of 2012 several airports have seen their Volotea services suspended, while other airports have been added to the network

Country New airports (date of first service) Dropped airports
Hungary Budapest
Poland Krakow
Portugal Lisbon, Porto
Greece Preveza (1 July 2014), Samos (4 July 2014), Skiathos (21 July 2013) Thessaloniki
Italy Catania (19 December 2012), Pantelleria (2 June 2013), Turin (16 September 2013) Alghero, Milan Bergamo, Trieste
France Brest (20 April 2013), Caen (26 April 2014), Calvi (12 April 2014), Figari (12 April 2014), Toulouse (30 March 2013) Metz/Nancy, Toulon
Spain Fuerteventura (22 December 2013), Tenerife Sur (22 December 2012) Alicante, Granada, Mahon, Santander, Santiago, Seville, Valladolid

This summer will see the addition of five new airports to the network; Caen, Calvi and Figari in France, plus Preveza and Samos in Greece. There are currently no services to any airports in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scandinavia, Switzerland or the UK. That does not mean the airline’s aircraft are never seen in these countries, as the airline operates a number of charter services on behalf of tour operators.

Volotea staff celebrating the airline's one millionth passenger in Italy.

On 17 October 2013 Volotea carried its one millionth passenger in Italy. The event was celebrated at Venice Airport by Carlos Muñoz, founder and CEO of Volotea (fourth from left) and Enrico Marchi, Chairman of SAVE-Venice Airport (third from right). The lady between them is Erika Cavalieri, the lucky passenger, who came along with her husband and two children. To celebrate the event the aircraft in the background was named after her (as can bee seen just above the front passenger windows).


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