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ueling Airlines, S.A. is a prominent Spanish low-cost carrier headquartered at El Prat de Llobregat in Greater Barcelona. This leading airline boasts primary operational hubs at Barcelona–El Prat Airport and Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport in Rome, Italy, positioning itself as the largest airline in Spain, both in terms of fleet size and the multitude of destinations it serves. Notably, the airline maintains additional bases at A Coruña, Alicante, Asturias, Bilbao, Florence, Gran Canaria, Málaga, Palma de Mallorca, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Santiago de Compostela, Seville, and Valencia. Furthermore, Vueling Airlines establishes summer seasonal bases at Ibiza and Menorca, thereby reinforcing its reach and operational flexibility.
In line with its commitment to offering a broad network, Vueling Airlines caters to an extensive clientele, connecting travelers to over 100 destinations across diverse continents, including Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In a remarkable feat, the airline transported more than 24 million passengers in 2015, achieving an impressive load factor of 81%, indicative of its unwavering dedication to passenger satisfaction and efficiency.
The story of Vueling Airlines dates back to May 2004 when its journey began, marked by the commencement of operations on May 1, 2004, with an inaugural flight connecting Barcelona and Ibiza. At this inception, the airline's fleet comprised two Airbus A320 aircraft strategically stationed in Barcelona, serving key routes to Brussels, Ibiza, Palma de Mallorca, and Paris-Charles de Gaulle. The name "Vueling" was ingeniously crafted, seamlessly blending the Spanish word for flight, "vuelo," with the English gerund suffix "-ing," encapsulating the essence of dynamic air travel.
During its nascent stages, Vueling Airlines found itself under the ownership of major shareholders, notably Apax Partners (40%), Inversiones Hemisferio (Grupo Planeta) (30%), Vueling's adept management team (23%), and V.A. Investor, represented by JetBlue Airways (7%). A pivotal moment in the airline's journey unfolded in May 2007 when Vueling appointed Lars Nygaard, previously the managing director of Spanair, as its Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Carlos Muñoz, who continued to contribute as a member of the Board of Directors, marking a strategic transition in leadership.
Building upon its early successes, Vueling Airlines expanded its footprint by designating Madrid as its second operational base in 2005, followed by the establishment of its inaugural base outside of Spain at Paris Charles de Gaulle in 2007. The city of Seville emerged as the next pivotal location to join Vueling's network in May 2009, further solidifying the airline's position as a versatile and influential player in the aviation industry.