Spanish airlines

If you are asked about airlines based in Spain, you will surely think of some, but there are surely others that you don’t know or that don’t sound so familiar. Let’s go over the most important ones.

Air Europa Líneas Aéreas S.A.U. was founded in 1984. It is currently the main airline with Spanish capital, with headquarters in Llucmajor (Balearic Islands). It offers more than two hundred daily flights, both domestic, international and transoceanic, and has bases in the airports of Gran Canaria, Asturias, Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona. Within its frequent routes are those to Gran Canaria and Tenerife, both north and south.

On November 4, 2019, the agreement was announced for the purchase of the airline by IB OPCO HOLDING SL, the parent company of Iberia, owned by IAG (International Airlines Group) for 1,000 million euros. The operation, at the time of writing, has not yet materialized.

Vueling Airlines is a Spanish airline, based in Barcelona, owned by IAG. It is the largest airline in Spain in terms of the number of destinations and fleet size, and the second largest in terms of the number of passengers transported within Spain, surpassed only by Ireland’s Ryanair.

It began operations in July 2004 as an independent airline based in Barcelona, although after its merger with Clickair in 2009 its main shareholder became Iberia and, after the takeover bid presented by IAG in July 2013, Vueling was left in the hands of the holding company formed by the merger of Iberia and British Airways.

Born as a low-cost airline after the bankruptcy of Spanair -one of its direct competitors- and forced by the great growth of Ryanair in Barcelona, Vueling has been operating to a certain extent as a traditional airline, although without losing its identity as a low-cost airline.

Plus Ultra Linea Aereas is one founded in 2011. The company took its name from the Plus Ultra, the Spanish Military Aeronautics’ seaplane that made its first flight between Spain and America, taking off on January 22nd, 1926 in front of La Rábida in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) with destination Buenos Aires, where it arrived on February 10th of that same year.

The company currently has its headquarters in Madrid, its main base being the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport.

Currently, Plus Ultra Líneas Aéreas has four regular destinations: Lima, with 3 weekly frequencies, the Madrid-Caracas route two days a week, and two weekly frequencies between Tenerife Norte and Caracas and Quito-Guayaquil. In addition, operations are carried out under the wet lease/ACMI regime, which allows Plus Ultra to reach numerous destinations, both national and international.

Volotea is a low-cost airline whose main base is in Asturias, but with headquarters in Barcelona. It began operations on April 5, 2012. It was founded by the creators of Vueling, Carlos Muñoz and Lázaro Ros.

This company was born with the objective of uniting small and medium sized cities in Europe at very competitive prices and without the need to stop over in order to offer the inhabitants of these cities the same options as those in the large capitals.

It began operations with the Boeing B717, but currently alternates the use of this aircraft with Airbus A319 aircraft.

It currently operates a total of 346 short-range routes in more than 90 cities in 14 countries.

Canaryfly was founded in 2008 and has its headquarters at the airport of Gran Canaria. It operates regular passenger flights between the Canary Islands, being in May 2012 when it inaugurates its first inter-island route.

In 2016 it consolidated its position in the Canary Islands air market, increasing its routes and seats by more than 30%, and transporting more than 70,000 passengers every month.

Binter Canarias (or simply Binter) is an airline based in the Canary Islands. It belonged to Iberia until 2002, when it was sold to Hesperia Inversiones Aéreas, a company created for the sole purpose of carrying out the airline acquisition operation.

Most of its flights are operated under franchise by Canarias Airlines and Air Nostrum Líneas Aéreas del Mediterráneo, except for a minority which are operated directly by Binter.

Its headquarters are divided between Gran Canaria Airport (or Gando Airport) in the municipality of Telde (Gran Canaria), and Tenerife North Airport in La Laguna. The company flies to all the Canary Islands’ airports and also to ten national destinations outside the archipelago.

Iberia was once the Spanish flag carrier. Founded in 1927 under the name Iberia Compañía Aérea de Transporte, it is currently one of the oldest airlines in the world.

Its main base is the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. The Iberia Group flies to 108 destinations in 42 countries. On November 12, 2009, Iberia confirmed that it had reached a preliminary understanding agreement with British Airways to complete a merger operation between the two airlines. In November 2010, the shareholders of Iberia and British Airways ratified the agreement, giving rise to the holding company International Airlines Group (IAG), making it the sixth largest airline in the world and the third largest in Europe in terms of turnover.

Iberia currently has a subsidiary (Iberia Express) and has a franchise company (Air Nostrum).

If you want to know more about the history of Iberia you can consult this article.

This airline is based in Valencia and operates as a franchise for the Iberia airline. Air Nostrum makes more than three hundred flights a day and has a fleet of more than sixty aircraft, made up of ATR72 turboprop and CRJ 200, 900 and 1000 medium size jets. In addition to domestic flights within Spain, the Balearic and Canary Islands, Air Nostrum offers flights to destinations within Africa and Europe.

Iberia Express is the low-cost company of the Iberia Group, based in Madrid. It operates short- and medium-range routes, both to feed the long-distance network of its parent company and to operate efficiently in the low-cost segment. With a fleet of 23 aircraft, Iberia Express operates to more than 40 destinations nationally and internationally.

The airline began operations in March 2012 and since then has grown to become the fourth operator at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport by number of passengers and the number one between Madrid and the Canary Islands.

Iberia Express is also internationally recognized for its commitment to punctuality and regularity, as endorsed by reports from the FlightGlobal consulting firm, which for five consecutive years has named it the most punctual low cost in the world.

Wamos Air is a Spanish airline currently part of the Wamos Group, owned by Andros and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. It is the third largest long-haul airline in Spain.

The airline was founded as Pullmantur Air by the Marsans Group in 2003, replacing some of the operations of the former Oasis Airlines, until the creation of Air Comet. Since its inception, the company has only operated charter flights to transport passengers of the Pullmantur Tour Operator and its subsidiary Paditur (cruises, circuits and stays in the Caribbean).

It currently offers flights to several Caribbean destinations such as Mexico (Cancun), Dominican Republic (Punta Cana) and Cuba (Varadero). It also combines regular tickets with Touroperation tickets provided by Wamos Tours, the Wamos Group’s tour operator.

Albastar is a charter and regular airline based in Palma de Mallorca with majority Italian capital (the main shareholders are the Italy Aviation Service Group, the Kenobi Group and the Femar Group)

The company started its activity in July 2010. In January 2011 it entered the cargo service, with the addition of a second aircraft. In 2012 it divested itself of its cargo aircraft to focus on the passenger transport business.

LEVEL is a trademark of IAG under which the Spanish airline Iberia operates since June 2017 and whose main airport is the Barcelona-El Prat Airport. The main purpose of the brand is the operation of low-cost commercial flights between Barcelona and various international destinations, mainly in America.

LEVEL operates low-cost transoceanic flights based at the Barcelona-El Prat Airport. This airline was born with the intention of competing with Norwegian Air International in the long-range low-cost market from Barcelona airport.

The brand offers a wide network of connections to numerous Spanish and European cities with the other airlines of the International Airlines Group (IAG) holding, in particular Vueling Airlines.