|Company slogan||Love The Way You Fly|
|Parent company||IAG (97.52%)|
|Headquarters||El Prat de Llobregat, Catalonia, Spain|
|Key people||Javier Sánchez-Prieto (CEO)|
|Revenue||€1,102.6 million (2012)|
|Operating income||€138.1 million (2015)|
|Net income||€95.3 million (2015)|
|Total assets||€688.7 million (2015)|
|Total equity||€237.2 million (2012)|
Vueling Airlines, S.A. (styled as Vueling, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbwelin]; BMAD: VLG) is a Spanish low-cost airline based at El Prat de Llobregat in Greater Barcelona with hubs in Barcelona–El Prat Airport and Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy. Its name comes from the Spanish word vuelo, which means flight. There are thirteen additional bases at A Coruña, Alicante, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Brussels, Florence, Madrid, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Paris-Orly, Santiago de Compostela, Seville and Valencia. A fifteenth summer seasonal base is located at Ibiza.
Vueling serves over 100 destinations in Africa, Asia and Europe and is currently the second largest airline in Spain. In 2014, the airline carried more than 17.2 million passengers, with a load factor of about 80%.
Vueling was established in February 2004 and commenced operations on 1 July 2004 with a flight between Barcelona and Ibiza. The initial fleet consisted of two Airbus A320 aircraft, based in Barcelona serving Brussels, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. The name Vueling was formed by combining the Spanish word vuelo (flight) with the English gerund suffix -ing.
Initially, major shareholders of Vueling Airlines were Apax Partners (40%), Inversiones Hemisferio (Grupo Planeta) (30%), Vueling's management team (23%) and V.A. Investor (JetBlue Airways) (7%). During its nascent stages, the company's general manager was Lázaro Ros, while Carlos Muñoz was CEO. In November 2007, Vueling appointed managing director of Spanair Lars Nygaard as CEO to replace Carlos Muñoz, who remained as a member of the Board of Directors.
Madrid was added as the airline's second base in 2005, followed by its first base outside Spain at Paris Charles de Gaulle in 2007. Seville followed in December 2009.
Financial concerns and management re-shuffle
2007 was a difficult year for Vueling; Apax Partners sold its then-21% stake in the carrier in June of that year, followed by two profit warnings issued in August and October. Two company directors and the chairman resigned shortly before the second profit warning, citing differences over commercial strategy. Shares in the company were also temporarily suspended. This led to Barbara Cassani, former Chief Executive of UK low-cost airline Go, joining Vueling as chairman of the board in September 2007. The airline then embarked on a restructuring exercise and posted its first profit in mid-2009.
Vueling and Clickair merger
In June 2008, Vueling and rival Spanish low cost airline Clickair announced their intention to merge. The merger was designed to create a carrier better able to compete in the competitive Spanish airline market and mitigate high fuel costs with Iberia as the main industrial partner. While the new company would trade under the Vueling name, Clickair's Alex Cruz was named as chief executive.
The deal was subject to scrutiny and approval by European competition regulators, who were concerned that the merged airline would have a significant competitive advantage on around 19 routes. The regulators demanded the release of slots at Barcelona and other European airports as a condition of the merger.
On 15 July 2009 the merger of Vueling and Clickair was completed. The new merged airline operates under the Vueling brand, with Clickair flights and aircraft re-branded under the Vueling name. It became the second largest Spanish carrier flying 8.2 million passengers in 2009, to almost 50 destinations.
Co-operation with MTV
In 2009, Vueling for the second year running co-operated with MTV during the summer season. Two of Vueling's A320 aircraft (EC-KDG and EC-KDH) were re-painted into MTV liveries with some MTV styling on-board too. The designs of both liveries were created by Custo Dalmau and both liveries were removed at the end of 2009. In the summer season of 2010, EC-KDG had again been re-painted into an MTV livery, and in 2011 it was re-painted into a livery based on the DJ and producer David Guetta; the livery has since been removed and co-operation with MTV has since ended.
In November 2010, Vueling announced a new base at Toulouse Airport in France from April 2011, followed in December 2010 by the announcement of a new base in Amsterdam, also to open during April 2011. The Toulouse base opened on 23 April 2011, but has since closed.
In January 2011 further expansion was announced with Vueling adding a further nine aircraft to its fleet, including Airbus A319 aircraft. Six Airbus A320s were delivered between April and June 2011, whilst the remaining two A320s were delivered by the end of 2011.
On 21 March 2012 it was announced by CEO Alex Cruz that Rome would be added as a new base. The base launched on 25 March 2012 with one aircraft based there, the airline has since expanded at Rome with numerous new destinations.
On 5 December 2012, Vueling announced the opening of a new base of operations in Florence, the carrier is to base one aircraft there and serve four new European destinations. Ten months later, on 25 October 2013, Vueling launched Florence-Catania, its first domestic route in Italy.
Since November 2013, the airline has continued to expand from its hub at Barcelona. On 6 November 2013, Vueling announced a new base with one aircraft in Brussels, with seven new destinations from May 2014, in addition to the four previous routes from Brussels. Also in November 2013, Vueling announced an expansion of its base at Rome-Fiumicino. From mid-2014, 8 aircraft would be based there, operating more than 30 routes. The expansion meant Rome-Fiumcino would become Vueling's second largest airline hub, after Barcelona.
During the first weekend of July 2016, Vueling had many delays and cancellations, that resulted in an investigation of the Spanish authorities. During the same month, Vueling canceled all the flights to Sheremetyevo International Airport, Vilnius Airport and Rabat–Salé Airport. Clients are able to get a refund or fly to the nearest airport were Vueling flights.
The key trends for Vueling over recent years are shown below (as at year ending 31 December):
- Chief Executive: Javier Sánchez-Prieto
- Director Corporate: Sonia Jerez Burdeus
- Director Marketing: Lluis Pons Argimon
- Director Route & Revenue: Silvia Mosquera Gonzalez
- Director Sales: Juan Carlos Iglesias Garcia
Takeover by IAG
In November 2012, International Airlines Group, whose subsidiary Iberia held a 45.85% stake in Vueling, offered to buy the remaining 54.15% of the company with both Iberia and IAG owning both shares and not resulting in the company being wholly owned by IAG through 100% of shares. IAG, also the owner of British Airways, plans to use Vueling to help stem losses at Iberia. However, market trends (increased profits and improved figures from Vueling resulting in a higher share-price) had made IAG's offer a significant undervaluation of the airline. Vueling had urged its shareholders to reject IAG's offer and its shareholders had until the 8th of April 2013 to decide upon the recommendation.
On 27 March 2013, IAG improved its offer for Vueling, raising its offer per share from €7 to €9.25. Vueling shares quickly surged after the announcement by 8.8% to €9.23 following a temporary suspension as BMAD waited on an official comment from Vueling regarding the updated offer. The acceptance period was also increased by 48 calendar days.
On 9 April 2013, the board of Vueling unanimously recommended shareholders accept an improved offer of €9.25 per share from IAG. IAG CEO Willie Walsh confirmed that the board had recommended the new offer; however, Walsh also stated that Vueling would not be merged with Iberia, saying, "Vueling will operate as a stand-alone entity in IAG group."
On 23 April 2013, IAG acquired control of Vueling which saw the recently purchased 44.66% stake by IAG merged with Iberia's existing 45.85% stake to form a 90.51% shareholding. Vueling remains a standalone company now within the IAG and its management structure is unchanged; however, Vueling's CEO Alex Cruz reports directly to IAG CEO Willie Walsh.
Frequent flyer programmes
Vueling offers two frequent flyer programmes. Punto (Spanish for point) allows you to collect points and then exchange them for flights to any Vueling destination. Iberia Plus can be used to get flights or be cashed in for other Iberia services or those of the other companies linked to the Iberia Plus programme.
Vueling has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:
|Airbus A319-100||6||3||144||144||1 leased from Iberia|
|2 leased from Air Berlin|
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- Vueling contrata 34 pilotos y alquila 6 aviones para atajar su crisis
- Vueling cancel·la tres rutes des del Prat per millorar la seva operativa
- Key Executives
- "IAG ups bid for budget airline Vueling by one third". Reuters UK. 2013-03-27. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
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Media related to Vueling at Wikimedia Commons