Spanair and the rest of the airlines in Star Alliance agree
Spanair currently provides regional traffic to and from Barcelona, but soon, together with its strong partners, it will also need to put in long-haul traffic. For now this consists solely of a codeshare with Singapore Airlines, which operates Singapore-Barcelona-San Paulo together with Spanair. But over the coming year, more airlines in the Star Alliance will build long-haul connections between Asia and North and South America with Spanair as codeshare partner. In South America, multiple routes to Brazil – up to twice daily – and Argentina are on the drawing board. Star Alliance is well aware how strongly Madrid stands as a competing oneworld hub.
Many Nordic guests have flown Spanair without knowing it since the airline flew routes from Scandinavia to Spain and the Canary Islands as codeshare partners with SAS, its former owner. SAS still owns 11% of the shares and sits on the board. Nuria Tarré, Spanair CCO: “The Nordics are our biggest international market. We have no fewer than 40 weekly flights from Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki to Spain, which will now be marketed under our own name.”
Barcelona is strong as a hub both for the domestic market in Spain and for North Africa where Spanair is strong. But there is also strong point-to-point traffic between the Nordic countries and Barcelona. Nuria Tarré: “We are proud of the work, which also puts Barcelona in the works to become a hub. For Spanair, there is a maximum transfer time of two hours for four out of five further compounds. Meanwhile, Barcelona provides a short connection time of only 30 minutes, competing well with most of Europe’s airports.”
Barcelona’s biggest airline is Spanair, but it gets strong competition from low-cost carriers that fly there from Europe’s alternative airports. That means Spanair put a great deal of effort into providing a competitive product in all areas to gain market share. Since its release from SAS two years ago, Spanair has created no fewer than 22 new international routes, where earnings are better than on domestic routes. That includes the Scandinavian market.
“On the routes we fly, we now have a market share of almost 60%, but looking at the total number of air travellers from Scandinavia to Spain the market share is around 25%. We want to improve on this, because Scandinavia is a key market for us and in total represents about 10% of our turnover,” says Nuria Tarré. She adds that expansion in the Nordic region could be both in the form of new routes and in increasing frequencies on existing routes between Scandinavia and Spain.
[pictured: Spanair Airbus A320 in Star Alliance livery; courtesy Star Alliance]