DALLAS – Today in Aviation, Spanish low-cost carrier Volotea (V7) commenced operations in 2012. The initial schedule saw routes from the carrier’s home base of Venice (VCE) to Brindisi (BDS), Cagliari (CAG), and Palermo (PMO).
The pan-European airline was established by businessmen Carols Muñoz and Lázaro Ros, who had also set up Vueling (VY) in 2004. They planned to operate flights on underserved routes from European cities. The carrier is headquartered in Asturias, northwest of Spain.
An Unusual Fleet Choice
The airline commenced operations with a fleet of two Boeing 717-200s. Five more would join the fleet by summer 2012, and the carrier would go on to operate 19 of the type.
Volotea retired its last Boeing 717 in January 2021, becoming the last European operator of the jet. Despite being an unusual choice for a low-cost airline, the 717 proved invaluable to V7. Its 125-seat capacity allowed the airline to serve its small-to-mid-sized markets efficiently.
The airline chose to replace the jets with Airbus A319 and A320 equipment. Its first A319 arrived on March 9, 2016, and the airline announced it was to become an all-Airbus operator. The first A320 arrived in January 2021.
As part of V7s’ proactive environmental policy, the airline partnered with DANTE Aeronautical in a project to look at developing a 19-to-35-seat hybrid-electric passenger aircraft. This would allow the airline to open further routes where traditional larger aircraft would make them unprofitable whilst helping the environment by reducing carbon emissions and noise pollution.
Currently, V7 has bases in 18 European cities and serves more than 100 destinations through a mixture of domestic and international operations. In 2021, the airline opened 70 new routes, bringing the total to 354. Since commencing operations, the airline has carried more than 35 million passengers.
Featured image: Volotea Airlines EI-EXB Boeing 717-2BL. Photo: John Leivaditis/Airways