Spanish carrier Air Europa is to further extend its network into South America during the winter 2016/2017 schedule with new links into Argentina and Ecuador. Subject to government approval the SkyTeam alliance member will introduce flights from its Madrid base to both Córdoba in Argentina and Guayaquil in Ecuador from the middle of December 2016.
The airline will introduce a new five times weekly service between Madrid and Guayaquil’s José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport from December 18, 2016, while at the same time its existing four times weekly service between the Spanish capital and Asuncion in Paraguay will be extended to also serve Ingeniero Aeronáutico Ambrosio L.V. Taravella International Airport in Córdoba, Argentina’s second largest city.
Both routes will be served using Airbus A330-200 equipment with the expansion being made possible by the arrival of new Boeing 787 Dreamliners allowing the redeployment of the Airbus widebodies into new markets.
The new tag into Argentina will mark the return of regular flights between Madrid and Córdoba, a market that was previously served on a non-stop basis by Spanish flag carrier Iberia between October 2010 and January 2012, but which was a casualty of the airline’s long-haul restructuring earlier this decade.
The new connection to Guayaquil will bring competition to a city pair market currently served on a non-stop basis by LATAM Airlines. Iberia also serves Ecuador’s largest and the most populous city, but in conjunction with flights to the capital, Quito, with services operating on a one-stop basis from Europe.
This confirmation of the Guayaquil expansion follows three meetings between representatives of the city’s José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport and Air Europa executives at Routes events over the past two years. These were supported by respected air service development consultancy, ASM (Airport Strategy and Marketing) which has been working alongside the airport on its network development strategy in recent years.
ASM first represented José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport at Routes Americas in Denver, USA last year and subsequently at World Routes in Durban, South Africa last autumn and at Routes Americas at San Juan, Puerto Rico earlier this year. At these latter two events, direct contact was made with the Spanish airline and these productive meetings are understood to have helped to seal the new air service.
According to ASM officials, while the Durban meeting did not include a formal route forecast, data was presented on the market size, seasonality, market shares, yields, potential connectivity, along with the incentives on offer from the airport, which together highlighted the strong business case for the introduction of the Madrid service. Air Europa acted favourably on this information and the subsequent meeting in San Juan in February this year meant specific discussions could be made on the implementation process for the route.
“It is fantastic news that Madrid and Guayaquil are now connected with a new 5x weekly service by Air Europa. Working together with Guayaquil Airport, we presented a strong business case to Air Europa for this new route between the two cities. The new service will open up Guayaquil to a new wave of European tourists and promote business interests within the region,” Mike St-Laurent, vice president, consulting, ASM told Routesonline.
Air Europa is growing its network between Europe and South America by more than 20 percent this year with approaching 600,000 one-way seats on offer this calendar year, according to published schedules from intelligence provider, OAG. This is its largest ever seat offer into South America and follows a capacity growth of 425.5 percent since 2006, an average annual rise of 42.5 percent.
This year’s expansion from Air Europa, which includes new non-stop links from Europe to Bogota, Colombia and additional capacity into markets such as Asuncion, Paraguay; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Lima, Peru; and Sao Paulo, Brazil, is its largest year-on-year rise since 2010.
Air Europa is now the seventh largest carrier in the Europe to South America market by capacity and the largest non-flag carrier. It is also among the fastest-growing operators in this market segment and alongside KLM has recorded the fastest rate of capacity growth since the start of the decade and its rate of expansion in 2016 has only been exceeded by LAN Airlines (up 51.2 percent versus 2014) and Turkish Airlines (up 24.5 percent versus 2014).