On July 1, 2004, the Airbus A320 with registration EC-IZD, named Barceloning, took off from the Barcelona El Prat airport, bound for Ibiza. With that first takeoff, a decade and a half ago, a project with a very precise purpose began: democratize air transport and bring it closer to as many people as possible, making it more affordable and giving it a fresh, close and innovative image. All this, with a clear commitment to new technologies.
Fifteen years later, it is clear that this purpose has become a reality. Today, Vueling is one of the main low cost airlines in Europe, integrated into the IAG Group. The company, which was born with a fleet of two aircraft, now has 118 aircraft, and, in 2018, transported more than 32 million passengers.
Betting on the territory
The Vueling project, which was born as something different and somewhat risky, has been consolidated over the years. In its main house, Barcelona, Vueling has more than 60 aircraft based and thanks to that, the city is one of the best connected in Europe, with more than 120 short and medium-haul direct destinations. In addition, the trust that their customers have placed in them during all this time has had another important effect, both from the economic point of view, as in the lives of the people: In front of the hundred professionals with whom the company closed the year of 2004, now the team reaches a total of 4,000 people in the total of our bases and around 2,500 indirect employees.
Throughout these years, they have carried out their purpose of democratizing air transport beyond the city from which they took off for the first time. Little by little, they have turned other cities in Spain and Europe into their homes. In Bilbao based, since June, the fifth plane. The same bet has been made in the Balearic Islands, where they maintain a strong presence throughout the year – and not only in summer -, which makes them the reference airline in the islands. His bet extends to Galicia, where this year they will reinforce the base of Santiago with a new airplane; Valencia and Alicante, where they will also base a new aircraft in each city; Andalusia, where they will expand the fleet from three to four aircraft in Seville and have another five based in Malaga; and Canary Islands, where they have operations centers in Tenerife North and Gran Canaria.
Admission in IAG
Throughout these years, Vueling has gone through several phases of development and consolidation, to become what it is today. In 2013, they become part of the IAG group. This milestone marked the beginning of a consolidation phase that has also led them to international expansion. Its most important bases are at the Rome Fiumicino airport, where eight planes sleep, and in Florence, where they are leaders (with three aircraft starting in September). They also have a major operations center in Paris, with four aircraft based at the Orly airport and another three at the Charles de Gaulle airfield.
A key economic actor
The results of this bet are obvious. Vueling has become a key element for the economy of a country like Spain, which is visited every year by almost 83 million tourists, 80% of which arrive by plane. , The IAG group, of which they form part, represents 31% of the market in our country, a figure of which half corresponds to Vueling. A) Yes, the company is the leader in the flows between Spain and France, with a market share of 30%, and is second -very close to the leadership- in connectivity with Italy, when transporting 23% of passengers that move between the two countries. With a market share of 32%, in addition, Vueling is the first airline in the domestic market in Spain, the most important in Europe.