Air Transport World

Scheduling the future.

Fast-growing Spanair continues to build the scheduled side of its business, leveraging its relationship with co-founder SAS to establish a presence outside Spain

Beginning this spring, Spanair is launching an aggressive expansion aimed at fulfilling its goal of becoming the favored alternative to Iberia for business travelers throughout Spain, the Balearic and Canary islands. The airline, which celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, is taking advantage of the opening of Madrid's third runway last November to add five new domestic spokes to its hub there.

The 3-phase expansion began with the addition in February of Alicante, Vigo and Oviedo and continued on March 28, when service to Seville was introduced. In November, Spanair adds Valencia, Spain's third-largest city, to its network. Then we will have 16 [domestic] destinations and cover Spain very well. We'll need to increase frequencies but we don't need to add more cities," says Frank Badino, director-scheduled division and a transplant from SAS, which co-founded and owns 49% of the Palma de Mallorca-based airline (Spanish travel agency Viajes Marsans holds the remainder).

Executives here acknowledge that with 75% of the domestic market, Iberia is still by far the dominant carrier in Spain, but they also believe they have won over a significant share of business travelers by offering a combination of lower fares and higher-quality service. Spanair tries to keep its full-economy and business-class fares about 15% below Iberia's, say airline officials. The carrier's advertising pitch, translated as Pay less and travel in a better way," sums tip its business strategy. …

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