Clickair, the expanding Spanish low cost carrier, will mark its first birthday on 1 October, on target to carry 4.5 million passengers by year end on 50 domestic and international routes.
With a fleet of 22 dedicated Airbus A320 aircraft (up from an initial three when it started out in October 06) clickair has progressively bolstered its market share to now command the largest, individual share of traffic at Barcelona El Prat Airport, its home base, accounting for 14% of traffic movements with the highest number of foreign destinations from Spain’s second largest city. In August, clickair carried 438,650 passengers, surpassing Spanair (SAS Group) and Vueling, also Barcelona-based, to make it the second largest operator at the airport.
In the first eight months of the year, clickair flew a total 2.65 million passengers from the Spanish cities of Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Seville, La Coruna, Vigo, Santiago and Bilbao, including some 1.9 million originating from Barcelona. “This performance in our first year is more than satisfactory,” said CEO Alex Cruz, noting that clickair is set to take the ranking of No 1 in Barcelona in the near future.
Last week, clickair’s contribution to Europe’s fast growing low cost airline market was recognised when it was voted Best Newcomer in the 2007 World Low Cost Airlines Awards, ‘The Budgies,’ organised by Terrapinn Ltd, organisers of the annual World LCC Congress. The international judging panel of media and aviation consultants determined that clickair demonstrated strong growth, individuality and innovation in its first year.
“We are delighted with this accolade,” said Alex Cruz. “It further underlines our achievement as the airline with the lowest operating costs serving main airports in Europe. We will endeavour to meet and maintain this low cost structure.”
In February, clickair became the first low cost carrier to bring permanently low fares to London Heathrow Airport with daily flights to Valencia, Seville and La Coruna. Seville services were subsequently moved to London Gatwick at the end of March.
In the first nine months of operations network-wide, 78% of its flights - all to main hub airports - departed within 15 minutes of scheduled departure time; and 86% of them within 30 minutes of scheduled departure time. London Gatwick is especially pleasing with 96.8 % of flights departing within 15 minutes of schedule.
clickair entered the low cost airline market as probably the best financed start up in Europe - with an initial capital of €120 million. It started out with three A320s serving Barcelona to Seville, Geneva, Zurich and Lisbon and between Seville and Paris-Orly. Inside three months it had carried more than 300,000 passengers.
By the end of 2007, clickair Airbus fleet will have further increased to 24 and by the end of 2008 it will have a 30-strong fleet serving a network that embraces 55 destinations and 70 plus city pairs, a cumulative total of 10 million passengers.
“We are looking forward to continuing operations into the winter and to developing new and innovative products for our passengers,” said Alex Cruz.
Top of the agenda is the roll out of the click&fly product to the UK and Europe, eliminating the need for the check in process and enabling UK and European-originating passengers to select their seat and print their boarding pass as soon as the booking is confirmed. As a pre-requisite, allocated seating is available on all clickair routes now and click&fly has already proved popular in Spain, with some 90% of passengers flying on Spanish domestic routes choosing the option when available.