Could Volotea Expand To Launch Africa Flights?

Asturias based low-cost Spanish airline Volotea is considering launching flights to North Africa, following the demise of French airline Aigle Azur. Having found a niche specializing in flying to destinations that are underserved by other airlines, Voltea now has plans to expand.

Volotea is a Spanish low-cost airline. Photo: Volotea

Primarily sticking to European cities and resorts around the Mediterranean Sea, Volotea operates a fleet of Airbus A319-100s and Boeing 717s from its main hub at Marco Polo Airport Venice (VCE).

A large proportion of Aigle Azur’s customers traveled between France and Algeria

Having already decided to expand and add 53 new routes for the summer of 2020 from its new bases in Hamburg, Lyon, and Naples, taking over Aigle Azur’s flights from France to Algeria should be easy. Before it went bust, Aigle Azur carried 1.9 million passengers in 2018, half of whom traveled between France and Algeria earning the airline $325 million.

Volotea could start flying from France to Algeria. Photo: Volotea

The problem with what was then France’s second-largest airline was that they got too big for their breaches by trying to compete on a global scale with Air France. If Aigle Azur had just stuck to simply flying between France and Algeria, they would still be in business today and probably doing quite well.

Volotea could fill the void left by Aigle Azur

This void in service to France’s former North African colony is something that Volotea CEO Carlos Munoz has picked up on seeing a gap for his airline to fill.

While Aigle Azur mainly flew out of Orly Airport in Paris (ORY), Volotea has bases at Marseille, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Nantes, and Toulouse and could possibly pick up some slots vacated by Aigle Azur in Paris.

From Strasbourg and Nantes, Volotea flies to the Moroccan city’s of Marrakesh and Tangier and could presumably add routes to Algeria.

Volotea Boeing 717
Volotea is the employee shuttle provider for Airbus. Photo: Volotea

When speaking about the airline’s plans for next summer before taking up the idea of flying to Algeria, Volotea CEO Carlos Muñoz said in a press release:

“We are both excited and confident about the growth we are experiencing in all the markets where we operate. At the back of a very competitive year, we are now growing in aircraft, routes, markets, team and improving the quality of our service, which goes to speak about the resilience of our strategy in serving mid and small European cities. Most importantly, we are increasing the opportunities for our clients, by continuing to offer new possibilities for travel at very competitive fares with almost 350 routes in 2020.”

This year Volotea also won the contract from Airbus to be the European plane maker’s employee shuttle provider between its two main bases of Toulouse and Hamburg.

Volotea, which in Spanish means to fly around, used to have its headquarters in Barcelona, but moved to Castrillón during the Spanish constitutional crisis in 2017. Currently, Volotea is the only European airline flying the Boeing 717 and is looking to replace them with Airbus jets as they add new routes.

Will Flights from France to Algeria work?

The answer to this is yes! Aigle Azur was making a nice profit from the routes and with France having a large number of North African immigrants the demand for flights is there.

Even if Air France took some of Aigle Azur’s old Algerian routes Volotea’s low-cost business model would allow them to undercut Air France.

I think that this could be a smart move on the part of Volotea as they continue their expansion around the Mediterranean. What do you think? Please let us know in the comments.