Spanish start-up Volotea to serve secondary European cities

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Planned Spanish start-up Volotea has secured "substantial and adequate funding" from three private equity firms, and aims to launch operations to secondary cities in Southern Europe this spring.

The proposed carrier, which is led by Carlos Muñoz and Lázaro Ros - the founders of Barcelona-based low-cost carrier Vueling - has applied for its air operator's certificate and leased a Boeing 717 from Boeing Capital.

Volotea plans to operate an all-717 fleet "with the goal of providing direct service and economic benefit to smaller, secondary cities in Southern Europe while avoiding the hubs of well-established carriers", said the airline.

Volotea has secured undisclosed funds from USA-based private equity firm CCMP Capital Partners, Madrid-based Axis Participaciones Empresariales and Sinaer Inversiones - an aviation investment vehicle which is partly owned by Spanish private equity group Corpfin Capital.

The latter was involved in the management buyout of Aer Lingus's Spanish charter subsidiary Futura in 2002.

A Volotea spokesman said the carrier expects to receive its AOC in "just a few weeks". However, he declined to disclose any further details about the start-up's planned network.