International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), a UK-based airline owner and the parent of British Airways, has promised that its purchase of Spain-based budget airline Vueling will not impact on services currently operated by its other Spanish airline, Iberia.
Suggestions that the Vueling takeover could result in more of Iberia’s loss-making short-haul routes being axed have been scotched by IAG. It was also considered possible that Vueling could be viewed as the prime carrier between Spain and Gatwick in the UK, with British Airways abandoning its own services on the routes to leave the field open to its new sister company, but that rumour has also been denied by IAG.
An IAG spokeswoman said, ‘Vueling has got its own business model, we have no changes planned. It is of value to us as a stand-alone business.’
Among the routes that Vueling already operates from the UK are services from Heathrow to La Coruna and Bilbao; Gatwick to Barcelona and Palma; Cardiff to Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Palma; Edinburgh to Barcelona; and Heathrow to Florence.
Vueling’s pre-tax profit last year was €33.2 million, while its revenue experienced a 27 percent increase to €1.1 billion. In gaining full control of the company, IAG has increased on the 45.85 percent stake that it already owned as part of its purchase of Iberia, paying €123.5 million to achieve a controlling interest of 90.51 percent.
IAG has in the region of 400 aircraft at its disposal, and it uses them to service around 200 international destinations. Recent substantial aircraft orders are set to boost its fleet still further over the next few years.