Spanish low-cost-carrier Vueling will wet lease an Airbus A330-300 from Irish national flag carrier Aer Lingus. The move seems to go entirely against the airline’s philosophy of only operating Airbus single-aisle aircraft on all of its routes.
It would appear that the wet leasing of a much larger Airbus A330-300 is all a part of the airline’s expansion into the Paris marketplace. Now, to coincide with the beginning of the 2021-2022 IATA winter season, Vueling will fly out of Orly starting on Sunday, October the 31st, 2021. Increasing the number of flights it will offer out of Paris, Vueling will be going head to head with Air France, Transavia France, and easyJet, who all have bases at the airport.
The move is only temporary to help combat capacity concerns
Spanish language aviation website aviavionline.com said Vueling had confirmed the wet lease. The Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN)-based airline said that the Airbus A330-300 would be used to help with capacity concerns on the 28 new routes Vueling intends to fly from Paris.
According to Vueling’s website, it will operate two flights a week to the following destinations from Paris Orly Airport (ORL):
- Bari (BRI), Italy
- Belfast International (BFS), United Kingdom
- Edinburgh (EDI), United Kingdom
- Leipzig (LEJ), Germany
- Milan Bergamo (BGY), Itay
- Turin (TRN), Italy
- Agadir (AGA), Morocco
- Asturias (OVD), Spain
- Granada (GRX), Spain
- Stockholm Arlanda (ARN), Sweden
- Tangier (TNG), Morocco
- Bergen (BGO), Norway
- Billund (BLL), Denmark
- Glasgow (GLA), United Kingdom
- Newcastle (NCL), United Kingdom
- Zaragoza (ZAZ), Spain
- Cork (ORK), Ireland
- Genoa (GOA), Italy
- Gothenburg (GOT), Sweden
- Jerez (XRY), Spain
- Malta (MLA)
- Santander (SDR), Spain
Vueling will operate three flights a week to the following destinations from Paris Orly Airport (ORL):
- Nuremberg (NUE), Germany
- Cardiff (CWL), United Kingdom
- Birmingham (BHX), United Kingdom
- Bologna (BLQ), Italy
Vueling will operate four flights a week from Paris Orly to Hamburg, Germany (HAM) and a once-daily flight to Dublin, Ireland (DUB).
What is a wet lease?
A wet lease agreement is when one airline leases the aircraft and the crew from the lessor airline to fly the plane on the lease’s behalf. In the case of Vueling and Aer Lingus, this was easy to do as they both, along with British Airways, Iberia, and Level, belong to the International Airlines Group (IAG).
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How did Vueling get the slots at Orly?
Needing further financial help to combat the massive downturn in air traffic due to COVID-19, Air France approached the French government for a bailout. However, an obstacle remained with the European Commission (EU) having to agree to the aid even though it had concerns over European antitrust laws.
To ensure that all airlines in Europe were on a level playing field, the EU demanded that Air France give up some of its strategic slots at Paris Orly Airport (ORY) and Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS). In the end, a deal was reached that saw Air France give up 18 takeoff and landing slots at Paris Orly Airport (ORY) in return for €4 billion in aid.