‘New Vueling’ will operate over 90 routes; over half of all flights on Spanish domestic routes

The merged vueling is now Europe’s third largest low cost airline. But there is a substantial overlap on 17 routes – something like 20-25% of capacity. vueling’s management has to present a new business plan in the Autumn in which a no-growth option is not acceptable – so it can’t merely bank on making money from route/capacity rationalisation. Intense competition and the cost of promoting the vueling brand from scratch in Northern Europe looks prohibitive – therefore route development in the domestic market and towards France, Italy and East Europe looks the most likely option…

Image: Clickair & vueling - Flying has brought us togetherThis week saw the final integration of clickair and Vueling, which will continue to operate under the Vueling name. With similar fleet sizes (Vueling has 17 A320s to clickair’s 18) the new company is keen to stress that this is a ‘merger of equals’. Clickair’s network consists of 55 routes while Vueling operates 53 airport-pairs with the airlines overlapping on 17 routes (15 from Barcelona and two from Seville) leaving the merged airline with 91 routes.

Barcelona is the new airline’s biggest base by far with around 600 weekly departures. The airline has identified Bilbao, Madrid, Malaga, Seville and Valencia as other designated bases. The high ranking of Ibiza and Mahon is due to seasonality issues with both airlines operating additional routes and flights to these holiday destinations during the peak summer season.

Chart: New Vueling Top 12 airports (Weekly departures - July 2009)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 July 2009

Nine of the top 12 airports are in Spain with Paris Orly, Rome Fiumicino and Amsterdam the leading foreign destinations for the airline. In total the new airline serves 46 airports in 17 countries. The least served airports with just one weekly flight are Fuerteventura, St Petersburg and Tenerife Sur, while Casablanca, Marrakech, Vienna and Warsaw each receive just two weekly flights.

53% of all flights are on Spanish domestic routes

Over three-quarters of all departures are from Spanish airports with the next biggest country markets being Italy (9.0% of all departures), France (6.9%), Netherlands (1.7%), Portugal (1.4%), Belgium (1.3%) and the UK (1.1%). The airline serves a total of 16 countries outside of Spain but currently has no presence in Germany, Ireland, Switzerland or any of the Scandinavian countries. However, since its launch in October 2006, clickair has served Berlin Tegel, Frankfurt, Munich, Dublin, Basel, Geneva, Zurich and Helsinki. Almost 53% of all flights this summer are on Spanish domestic routes.

Image: New Vueling top 12 routes (Weekly frequency - July 2009)
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 July 2009

Routes from Barcelona dominate the ranking of the airline’s busiest routes. Ibiza and Paris Orly lead the way at present for most weekly flights. This week saw Vueling shift four routes (Barcelona, Malaga, Ibiza and Rome FCO) from Paris CDG to Paris Orly. The Ibiza and Mahon routes will have considerably fewer flights for the winter season. Three Italian destinations (Milan, Rome and Venice) make it into the top 12 routes. Of the airline’s 91 routes, 41 are from Barcelona with these routes accounting for around two-thirds of all capacity.

Image: vueling new livery
Spreading the love: Vueling has entered into a co-branding project with MTV and Custo Barcelona, which started in May and runs until October. There are two specially branded aircraft: Spread Love and Play Rock.

Airlines overlap on 17 routes

The two airlines have been overlapping on 17 routes, 15 from Barcelona plus Seville – Las Palmas and Seville – Tenerife Norte. The graph below reveals how many weekly flights each airline currently operates on the 15 routes from Barcelona where they compete.

Chart: Overlap routes from Barcelona
Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 6 July 2009

As the new airline evolves anna.aero will be keeping a close eye on network developments. With around 11 million annual passengers it has now become Europe’s third largest genuine LCC (after easyJet and Ryanair). However, given the state of the Spanish economy it will be challenging for the airline to grow much in the near future, though rationalisation of its overlapping routes may create a number of new route opportunities with the existing capacity.

Image: Vueling merger
Barcelona’s spectacular new terminal – Terminal 1 – opened on 17 June. Vueling is among the airlines using the new facility – it operates 600 weekly departures from its biggest base.


  1. Adam Simmons says:

    “With around 11 million annual passengers it has now become Europe’s third largest genuine LCC (after easyJet and Ryanair). ” In what way is Air Berlin not genuine??

  2. Nuno Massano says:

    Air Berlin is a hybrid model, that’s why the author refered “genuine”.

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