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Vueling has a distinctive enough product, but it’s also betting on the continued weakness of Alitalia and is hoping to pick up its disgruntled passengers.
Vueling Airlines SA, the Spanish low-cost unit of International Airlines Group, is building up a base in Rome to exploit demand for flights from the Italian capital to destinations including Munich and Brussels.
Vueling will have 34 destinations from Rome, including Brussels and Palma de Mallorca, and probably a fourth daily service to Paris, Chief Executive Officer Alex Cruz said in an interview at the ITB tourism fair in Berlin today.
The new base would be well positioned to capture passengers flying into Italy on large network carriers from around the world, as Vueling explores so-called inter-lining agreements with airlines including Garuda International and Qatar Airways Ltd., he said.
“We’re going to have a very strong network from Rome from this summer onward, with multiple domestic destinations with many flights a day,” he said. “Rome will be a very interesting point of entry for some of the international carriers.”
The carrier plans to base 10 to 11 planes in Italy, with as many as six in Rome and the others in cities serving the capital, with their first morning flights all going to Rome.
The carrier is now building up its position in the market, with plans to reach its desired size in October, Cruz said. Vueling will deploy Airbus Group NV A320s in Italy, except in Florence, where it will use a smaller A319 because the runway is too short to accommodate the A320, which Vueling flies with a high-capacity 180 configuration.
Inter-lining agreements with about seven international carriers would let it provide seamless connections for passengers going from one airline to the other. Inter-lining lets passengers have their bags carried through from one destination through another to a third point.
Editors: Benedikt Kammel, Christopher Jasper. To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Rothman in Toulouse at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at email@example.com.