Despite strong links with Spain, start-up carrier Volotea is to launch its initial flights from Italy, after selecting Venice as its first operating base.
Volotea will begin flights from Venice in April and fly up to 25 routes within a few months.
The carrier, which will have a fleet of three 125-seat Boeing 717s, will start with a network of 10 routes. But it said that it will expand to 20-25 routes over the summer, and put its potential market at 70 cities in Europe. Its first aircraft is a 2005-built example, registration EC-LPM.
Three private equity funds - Spanish-linked Sinaer Inversiones and FESpyme, plus US-based CCMP Capital Advisors - have committed "substantial and adequate" capital to Volotea, the airline insisted.
Volotea is pitching itself as a point-to-point low-cost carrier, and said: "[We] will offer very competitive prices in markets currently devoid of low fares."
Initial flights will operate both domestically and internationally, connecting Italian, French and Spanish destinations. The carrier claims it has already attracted interest from other airports.
Volotea claims it will cut fares by 50% on routes where a competing direct service exists. It will sell fares through the Internet, travel agents, call centres and global distribution systems.
The airline is being created by Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling's founders, Carlos Munoz and Lazaro Ros.
Munoz, the chief executive of the new airline, said it would focus on direct links between small and medium-sized cities, bypassing hub airports.
"Volotea's birth is the consequence of a solid industrial, commercial and financial project, a project that seeks to make profitable a segment of the market not currently served by the existing airlines," he said.
Source: Air Transport Intelligence news