New Spanish Airline Volotea to Launch Flights This April
Based in Spanair’s former home of Barcelona, Volotea — derived from the Spanish verb “revolotear” meaning “to fly around” — is being launched by two men with solid experience in the Spanish low-cost carrier biz: Carlos Munoz and Lazaro Ros, co-founders of Vueling Airlines. With the help of private equity firms, Munoz and Ros have secured about $65 million (€50 million) in capital for Volotea. Up to 20 former Spanair employees may be brought on as the airline staffs up.
While its corporate base is in Barcelona, operations on Volotea’s 125-seat, all-coach class Boeing 717s are set to begin on April 5th from a hub in Venice. “Volotea’s goal is to forge new and efficient air connections between Europe’s small and mid-sized cities currently not well served by direct flights,” said Munoz in a statement. The airline told Bloomberg that Bilbao, La Coruna and Granada in Spain could be some of Volotea’s first destinations, along with cities in France and Italy. The airline seeks to emulate the route model of Flybe, Europe’s largest regional carrier.
US-based CCMP Capital owns 49 percent of the airline, while Munoz and Ros hold 26 percent and Spanish equity firms Axis Participaciones Empresariales and Corpfin Capital own the remaining 25 percent. CCMP’s chairman, Greg Brenneman, was the President and COO of Continental Airlines from 1994 until 2001. Munoz and Roz both hold a minority stake in Vueling, which was purchased by International Airlines Group
Volotea on December 20th took delivery of their first aircraft, a Boeing 717 (EC-LPM, formerly N923ME) once operated by Mexicana Click and Midwest Airlines, according to a Flightglobal report. Boeing Capital Corporation, the airframer’s leasing arm, announced Wednesday that it will deliver an unspecified number of additional 717 aircraft beginning in March as part of a multi-year deal. Boeing was left with over a dozen abandoned 717s when Mexicana failed in 2010.