Staff Reporter
A new airline, Vueling Airlines, based in Barcelona, will provide daily flights between Ibiza and Palma and Valencia and Barcelona from July, with prices 50 percent lower than airlines offering similar services.

Lázaro Ros, the company's director general, and Victor Bañares, its marketing and sales director, said yesterday that the company, which has a share capital of 30 million euros, plans to close 2004 with a turn-over of 21 million euros and go into profit between the second and third quarter of its launch.

Ros said that the traffic with the Balearics will be “fundamental” for the company, adding that they hoped to provide links with Minorca next summer. He said they were unable to do so for the time being because of lack of capacity.

The new company will start operations in July with two new 180-seater Airbus A 320s, with daily flights linking Barcelona and Valencia with Palma, Ibiza, Paris and Brussels, although it plans to end the year with 12 new routes and add two planes to its fleet at the start of 2005.

Ros said that Vueling Airlines wants to fill a gap at Barcelona airport, which currently has no company operating from there as its central office.
The company now has 120 workers and aims to be the first “new generation” company of Europe, covering an “intermediate area” between the low cost no frills airlines and the conventional lines.

He added that in the future, it will operate throughout the Mediterranean and the south east of Europe, offering “customers an attractive product” just like regular airlines but with “reasonable and transparent prices.” Bañares explained that the airline has launched a starting offer valid until May 25, with fares pegged at ten euros one way throughout the month of July.

He added that the initiative, designed to encourage customers “to try the product” has already led to sales of 20'000 seats.
As opposed to other airlines, Bañares said, Vueling Airlines will only sell electronic tickets through its website or by telephone, will not have overbooking and travellers will be able to choose their seat when they purchase their ticket.

The prices will be “transparent”, he says, explaining that for each destination there would be five different prices at the most. “From August,” he went on, “the cheapest price from Palma to Barcelona will be 23 euros and the dearest 90 euros each way,” not counting airport taxes. The aim, he added, is to make the fares 50 percent cheaper than the conventional companies. Partners include the Grupo Planeta, Apax Partners and JetBlue Airways.

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