Today, we will look at the Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling and discover how it came to be and where it is now. Based at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN), Vueling is the second-largest Spanish airline after Iberia.
Founded on February 10, 2004, Vueling began operations the following summer with flights between Barcelona and the Mediterranean vacation island of Ibiza with two Airbus A320 aircraft. Vueling combines the Spanish word vuelo, which means flight, and the English gerund suffix -ing.
Vueling merges with Clickair
Initially, Vueling was owned by a British private equity firm called Apax Partners and Spanish mass media outlet Grupo Planeta. Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) became Vueling's second hub in 2005 before opening its first foreign operating base at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) in 2007.
The same year, Apax Partners sold its 21% stake in the airline before two profit warnings suspended sales of its shares. In September 2007, Vueling underwent a restructuring process that led to an announcement in 2008 that Vueling would merge with fellow Spanish low-cost carrier Clickair. The plan was to enable both airlines to better compete with Spanish national flag carrier Iberia. At the time, European regulators were concerned that it would give the new airline an unfair advantage on 19 routes and demanded that Vueling relinquish slots in Barcelona before approving the merger.
On July 15, 2009, the merger was approved, with Clickair's Alex Cruz named the airline's chief executive. Under a deal with American cable music channel MTV, Vueling agreed to paint two of its aircraft in special MTV livery.
Still expanding with new routes in 2010, Vueling opened a new base at Toulouse-Blagnac Airport (TLS) in France and another at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport (AMS) in the Netherlands.
Vueling gets new planes
To help with the expansion, Vueling took delivery of nine new Airbus aircraft in 2011, while Alex Cruz announced the airline's intention to open another foreign base at Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) in Rome, Italy. In April 2013, Vueling was bought by the owners of British Airways, Iberia, and Aer Lingus and became a part of the International Airlines Group (IAG) portfolio.
On October 25, 2013, Vueling launched its first Italian domestic route when it began flying between Florence Airport (FLR) and Vincenzo Bellini Catania Airport (CTA) on the island of Scilly.
Vueling bases and fleet
According to the aviation statistics and data website ch-aviation.com, Vueling has bases at the following European airports:
- Alicante-Elche Miguel Hernández Airport(ALC)
- Josep Tarradellas Barcelona–El Prat Airport (BCN)
- Bilbao Airport (BIO)
- Gran Canaria Airport (LPA)
- Ibiza Airport (IBZ)
- Málaga-Costa del Sol Airport (APG)
- Palma de Mallorca Airport (PMI)
- Santiago-Rosalía de Castro Airport (SCQ)
- Seville Airport (SVQ)
- Tenerife Norte Airport (TFN)
- Tenerife Sur Reina Sofia Airport (TFS)
- Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport (FLR)
- Rome Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
- Paris-Orly Airport (OLY)
- Schiphol Amsterdam Airport (AMS)
- London Gatwick Airport (LGW)
Vueling's current fleet of all Airbus aircraft is made up of the following planes:
- 6 x Airbus A319-100s
- 75 x Airbus A320-200s
- 25 x Airbus A320-200neos
- 18 x Airbus A321-200s
- 4 x Airbus A3210200NXs