Vueling and American Airlines signed on Thursday an agreement to foster the interconnection of their flights through Barcelona El Prat Airport and Rome-Fiumicino so as to increase their destination network. The Barcelona-based airline offers 140 destinations from the Catalan capital to Europe, the Middle-East and Africa, and 55 from the Italian airport. American Airlines clients will be able to take a flight to Barcelona or Rome and transfer to a Vueling flight using a single ticket and pick up their luggage at their destination airport. In addition, Vueling clients will be able to take a flight to Barcelona or Rome and fly onwards to New York, Miami, Philadelphia and Charlotte through American Airlines or its subsidiary US Airways. The Catalan airline transported 500,000 clients from the United States in 2014, and it hopes to increase this figure with the agreement signed this Wednesday.
This strategic agreement links Europe’s widest network of short- and medium-distance flights, which is operated by Vueling through Barcelona, with transatlantic routes linking the Old Continent to important hubs in the United States. Therefore, it represents another step towards transforming Barcelona El Prat Airport into an intercontinental hub in its own right, having already established itself as one of Europe’s main airports offering short- and medium-distance flights.
American Airlines currently operates through Barcelona El Prat’s Terminal 1 and has a daily flight to New York and another one to Miami. In addition, in April, its subsidiary US Airways will start offering a daily flight to Philadelphia and, from May, another one to Charlotte.
During the agreement’s presentation, Vueling’s President, Alex Cruz, said he was hoping American Airlines will increase the number of connections between the United States and Barcelona. “This would enable us to continue strengthening Barcelona El Prat Airport and increase its number of flights, destinations and jobs“, he added. The agreement will allow both companies “to offer flights between the American and Mediterranean markets, in both directions“. In addition, it should “develop El Prat Airport’s role as the most attractive entering point to Europe and reconfirm American Airlines’ prioritisation for Barcelona“, Cruz stressed.
Besides this, American Airlines’ Regional Director of Sales for Spain and Portugal, José Blázquez, highlighted that the international company “has shown its commitment to the Catalan market” and that the agreement’s intention is to “increase the number of direct flights” and “continue growing in Barcelona“, if there is enough demand, he added.
Finally, the Catalan Minister for Planning and Sustainability, in charge of Transportation, Santi Vila, welcomed the agreement. Vila said that the Catalan Government wanted to support the initiative since it goes in the direction of improving Barcelona El Prat’s intercontinental connectivity, which is “currently the weakest point” of this facility. “It is important to increase the number of passengers, but Barcelona Airport’s weakest point continues to be its lack of long-distance flights“, and this agreement is another step towards solving this, Vila concluded.