Volotea takes off as Europe’s budget airlines boom

VENICE, April 6 — New budget airline Volotea began scheduled services from Venice yesterday, linking the popular tourist destination to Palermo, Brindisi and Cagliari.

New carrier Volotea took off on April 5, 2012. — Picture courtesy of VoloteaNew carrier Volotea took off on April 5, 2012. — Picture courtesy of VoloteaIt’s the first stage of a new route map being drawn by Volotea, which soon hopes to offer nine international routes and seven routes from Venice Marco Polo, before expanding to link other cities across Europe.

Other destinations will include Bordeaux, Budapest, Krakow, Malaga and Porto from Venice, with routes from €19 (RM76) one way, inclusive of taxes.

By August, Volotea plans to operate 160 flights a week from its Venice base, becoming the largest operator in Venice and adding yet another name to the rapidly-growing European startup airline scene.

With the demise of Spanair earlier this year, the European budget carrier scene looked increasingly likely to be dominated by established names easyJet and RyanAir, but plenty of airlines have stepped up their efforts in response, a development which should help keep prices low for consumers.

In late March, Iberia’s new budget name Iberia Express took off, filling some of the space left vacant by Spanair at Barcelona, another popular travel destination for tourists in Europe.

Iberia Express’s competitor Vueling is already working feverishly to expand the number of routes it serves, as is Turkish airline Pegasus, which has reportedly aimed its sights on Eastern Europe to give customers another option to Turkish Airlines.

Wizz Air, the continent’s third largest carrier after Ryanair and easyJet, is also expanding its operations, most notably in Budapest to fill the space left by collapsed carrier Malev, but also in Baltic markets such as Vilnius, Lithuania. — AFP-Relaxnews


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