Spain's Volotea takes to the skies

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Spanish regional low-cost start-up Volotea has launched operations at its first base, Venice Marco Polo Airport, with three domestic round-trips to Palermo, Cagliari and Brindisi.

The airline's first flight landed in the Sicilian city of Palermo at 09.30 today (5 April 2012) without incident. Approximately 100 passengers were aboard the 125-capacity Boeing 717.

A total of 24 destinations will be gradually introduced to the Venice base over the summer schedule,

"By the end of the month, around 26 April, we will have launched international routes from Venice," Alfons Claver, communications manager, tells Flightglobal Pro. The new additions will include Bilbao, Malaga, Budapest, Krakow and Bordeaux.

Two additional operating bases will also join the network during the summer. Flights from Nantes airport will begin 1 June while Ibiza will be added 15 June, with the two bases eventually serving 14 and 15 destinations respectively. An additional 24 routes will be operated on a point-to-point basis independently of the three hubs.

The fleet will grow rapidly to nine 717s, all of which have been leased from Boeing Capital Corporation. Three operational jets will be based in Venice, two in Nantes and two in Ibiza. The other two back-up aircraft will be in storage.

Barcelona-based Volotea was created last year by Carlos Muñoz and Lázaro Ros, the founders of Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling. The company has already taken 60,000 advance bookings for its upcoming services, Claver says.