Most airlines are slashing capacity and removing aircraft, routes and crew from their operations. One European operator, however, sees the market very differently. Volotea operates a short-haul, point-to-point network with multiple crew bases scattered across Europe. The carrier plans to grow its operations, launching 40 new routes across the continent, with a heavy focus on domestic flights to serve pent up demand for leisure travel.
Now that flying protocols are becoming clearer, and that clients will regain the confidence in safe and healthy travel for this summer, we know most of our clients will want to travel more, especially in domestic markets. Therefore, we’ve adapted our network by strongly strengthening all of our domestic connections in Spain, France, Italy and Greece.– Carlos Muñoz, Founder and CEO of Volotea
France and Spain will each see 15 new routes added, along with additional airports on the network. The new routes focus heavily on holiday destinations. Most of its French cities will connect to Corsica, for example, while the Spanish markets will boost operations to the Balearic and Canary Islands.
In Italy the carrier will add eight routes, five of which have no competitors. Service again focuses on connecting island destinations to the mainland, with Sicily and Sardinia seeing the boost.
Volotea will also add a pair of new routes in Greece. Frequencies will also increase, allowing the airline to carry more passengers between the Greek mainland and islands.
In total Volotea intends to add six A319 aircraft to its fleet this year, growing to 39 planes serving nearly 100 destinations across 15 countries. New bases in Lyon and Naples will launch to support the growing operations.
All of this growth comes against a backdrop of terrible uncertainty. While borders are beginning to reopen, especially across Europe, any spike in COVID-19 related outbreaks could see them slam shut again. The shift towards a heavier domestic focus can, however, offset some of that risk.
The growth also comes against a relatively small base. Volotea aims to carry around 9 million passengers in 2020, a boost from prior years but also a tiny fraction of the overall market.
Still, to see some optimism and growth is very much a different approach to the market than even the other LCCs have mustered thus far. And, of course, no guarantees that the travelers show up, though indications so far suggest planes are starting to fill up again.
More on COVID-19 and the airlines affected
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