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Airlines

Name: VUELING AIRLINES
7JetSet7 Code: CLK
Status: Currently Not Operational
Region: EUROPE
City: BARCELONA
Country: SPAIN
Employees 250
Web: clickair.com
Email: officina_barcelona@clickair.com
Telephone: +34 91 449 0400
Fax: +34 93 479 0462
Sita:
Background
(definitions)

Click below for data links:
CLK-LOGO
CLK-PLANS-MAR08
CLK-VUZ-JUL09
CLK-VUZ-NEWS-JAN09

Formed and started operations in 2006. Formerly ClickAir (CLK). Merged with Vueling Airlines (VUZ) in July 2009. Domestic, regional & international, charter, passenger & cargo, jet airplane services.

Address:
C/ Silsones, 2 Esc B 31
Parc de Negocis Mas Bleu
Prat de Llobregat
08820 Barcelona, Spain

April 2006: Iberia Airlines (IBE), at long last, confirmed it will launch a low-cost carrier (LCC) (later to be named "ClickAir" (CLK)) to compete with the ever-growing herd of (LCC)s operating to and within Spain. The still nameless, no-frills carrier will be based at Barcelona International Airport (BCN) and is due to launch in October with five airplanes. The aim is to increase this number to 30 by the end of 2008, when a listing will be considered. It will be a standalone company with independent management "so as not to contaminate the new airline with (IBE)'s higher cost structure," according to (IBE), which will provide 24 million of 50 million in start up capital. Four other Spanish companies will participate in the venture: Cobra, a subsidiary of leading construction and services group (ACS); Nefinsa, holding company of the Serratosa family that also holds 96.8% of Air Nostrum; Spanish tourism group Iberostar, and private equity fund Quercus.

June 2006: Iberia Airlines (IBE) will reduce its operations at Barcelona International (BCN) drastically, Chairman, Fernando Conte told the carrier's Annual General Meeting (AGM) earlier this week. He said most of the routes it operates from El Prat are unprofitable. In April, (IBE) confirmed plans to participate in a Low Cost Carrier (LCC) (later to be named "ClickAir" (CLK)), that will operate point-to-point routes, largely to counter increasing competition at (BCN) from no-frills operators like Vueling (VUZ) and easyJet (EZY). Ryanair (RYR) has a base at nearby Girona-Costa Brava. The reduction at (BCN) will not affect Iberia (IBE)'s successful shuttle service to Madrid. Its pilots union did not take the news well and threatened strike action if the airline does not provide further clarification of its plans.

(IBE) is only "cutting nonprofitable routes" at (BCN), Chairman & CEO, Fernando Conte stressed at the (IATA) (ITA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Paris. "There is a lot of misunderstanding on this matter. We are not leaving (BCN). As a matter of fact, we have plans to invest in our airplane Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) and handling activities at the airport," he stated.

Conte also said start up of (CLK) in which (IBE) will hold a stake, is moving forward. Operations are scheduled to start in October and management will be appointed in the coming weeks. He refused to disclose the commercial name of the newborn. The name of the holding is "Cat Air," an abbreviation of Catalonia Air.

(IBE) pilots (FC) union (SEPLA) called a strike for July 10 - 16 to protest management's plans to launch (CLK). Although (IBE) is only one of five shareholders in the new venture, its pilots (FC) fear the (LCC), dubbed "CatAir," will lead to job losses. Late last month, (IBE) said it will cut loss-making routes from Barcelona. On Monday, it was forced to cancel several flights at Madrid Barajas owing to a 24-hour cabin crew (CA) strike called by the (CTA) trade union.

July 2006: Iberia Airlines (IBE) said a strike called by the (SEPLA) pilots (FC) union, scheduled to start July 10 and last through July 16, will force the cancellation of 200 daily flights and affect more than >200,000 passengers. The pilots (FC) announced the strike last month in response to (IBE)'s plans to participate in a new low-cost carrier (LCC) (CLK) based in Barcelona (BCN).

The Spanish Transport Ministry prevents flights to the Canaries, Balearic Islands, Africa, Middle East, "nearly" all long-haul services and "about half" of the carrier's domestic and European flights from being cancelled. About 23% of the Madrid - (BCN) shuttle service will be lost. "All (IBE)'s staff will try to find alternatives for affected passengers, although the possibilities are limited because of high seasonal demand," the airline said.

Regarding the pilots (FC)'s concerns, (IBE) said the new (LCC) is "a strictly entrepreneurial decision that will in no way affect (IBE)'s pilots (FC)." (IBE) guaranteed that no pilots (FC) will lose their jobs and that the new airline "will operate chiefly on point-to-point routes where (IBE) cannot compete, because of its high costs."

Later, (IBE) cancelled some 220 flights on the first day of an expected week long strike by pilots (FC) who are protesting the carrier's plans to establish a low-cost airline at Barcelona International later this year. The airline claimed the strike will cost about -35 million/-$44.8 million in lost revenue, representing about one-third of its 2005 operating profit. Most of the flight cancellations were on domestic routes. Management said that it had handed over "a formal proposal in writing" reiterating its guarantee of continued employment to all pilots (FC) currently on staff. "(IBE) hopes these guarantees will prompt (SEPLA) to end the strike, as it has promised repeatedly," the company said in a statement. It also said it would accept "oversight and enforcement" of the guarantee by Spain's Ministry of Labor and that it would form a committee in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport to look into whether or not pilots' employment might be impacted by the new (LCC).

(IBE) said (SEPLA) has responded with "one aberrant demand after another, including enormous bank guarantees, assurances of huge compensation packages and other types of unusual demands without precedent."

Resolution to the (IBE) pilots (FC)'s strike remained elusive as the carrier cancelled more than >200 flights for a second straight day and hinted it will seek to have the work action declared illegal. The airline said it attempted to present pilots (FC) with a letter guaranteeing their job security, but the (SEPLA) pilots union refused to accept the document. The pilots (FC) began a week long strike to protest (IBE)'s plans to launch an (LCC), which the pilots (FC) say would threaten their jobs. (SEPLA) said that (IBE) "refused to budge in its position" and offered nothing new. The airline said it would ask Spain's National Court to declare the strike, estimated to be costing more than -$6 million daily, illegal.

Later,(IBE) pilots (FC) agreed to end their strike, which started Monday and was to have lasted through Sunday, after winning guarantees from the carrier that the new (LCC) "CatAir," in which (IBE) is one of five shareholders, will not lead to job losses.

The agreement among (IBE), the (SEPLA) union and the Spanish Development Ministry ensures that no (IBE) pilots (FC) will be laid off through 2010 because of CatAir operations. The government will act as guarantor of the deal, which does not include salary hikes or guarantees, according to reports.

The (UGT) and (CCOO) trade unions asked (SEPLA) to call off the strike. Reportedly, both unions complained about the vagueness of the pilots' demands. According to "Reuters," one of four cabin crew unions supported the pilots and planned to strike on July 16, 18 and 20 to protest CatAir (CLK), which is scheduled to launch this fall.

The strike cost the airline more than -200 flights and more than -$6 million per day.

(IBE) said it was back to its full flight schedule "with very few exceptions" following conclusion of a three-day pilots (FC) strike. "(IBE) is glad the strike has ended, and thanks its customers for their confidence and their understanding in these difficult circumstances. All (IBE) employees are at their entire disposal to clear up any doubts they may have and help them in any way possible," the airline said in a statement.

(IBE) confirmed that its new Barcelona-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC), is now formally named "ClickAir" (CLK) and will launch in October with 12 domestic and additional European destinations, "AFX News" reported. Originally dubbed "CatAir" after its Catalonia home, the airline officially has been branded "ClickAir" to highlight the importance of the Internet to its sales efforts. (IBE) pilots (FC) participated in a three-day strike earlier this month, that ended when the airline guaranteed no jobs would be lost because of the new venture.

August 2006: Iberia Airlines (IBE)'s efforts to return its Barcelona operations to normal, following action by ground workers, included the transfer of more than >100 employees from other airports, two additional airplanes, and the placement of extra staff on all shifts, it said, adding that the airport "is now operating normally," although the carrier is still working on shipping baggage. "(IBE) is to launch an internal probe to ascertain responsibility for the wildcat strike which took place with no advance warning, and led to the invasion of the landing field of Barcelona's airport, as well as damage to equipment," it said.

September 2006: Clickair (CLK) named Alex Cruz, CEO.

(CLK) is planning to commence operations in early October with 3 A320-211s (146, EC-GRH; 240, EC-ICR; 241, EC-ICS), increasing to 12 in 2007 and 20 by the end of 2007. The following are the first 7 routes the airline has scheduled:
Barcelona to Geneva October 2x a day;
Barcelona to Lisbon October 1x a day;
Barcelona to Seville October 6x a day;
Barcelona to Zurich October 1x a day;
Seville to Paris Orly October 2x a day;
Valencia to Rome November 1x a day;
Valencia to Paris Orly November 2x a day.

(CLK) received its first A320 (EC-GRF) - see photo.

October 2006: Clickair (CLK) announced 12 routes to launch next year. The no-frills start up, in which Iberia (IBE) holds a 20% stake, will begin service from its base at Barcelona International Airport (BCN) to Malaga (five-times-daily), Munich (daily) and Oporto (daily) on January 1. (CLK) will start flying to Prague (daily) and Berlin (daily) on February 1 and to Amsterdam (twice-daily), Frankfurt International (twice-daily), Dublin (daily) and Basel (daily) on March 1. (CLK) also will commence flights from Seville (SVQ) and Valencia to London Heathrow on February 1. Next month, (CLK) will add service from Valencia to Rome Fiumicino and Paris Orly (ORY).

(CLK) launched operations earlier this month and presently flies between (BCN) and Geneva, Zurich, Lisbon and Seville and between (SVQ) and (ORY). (CLK) intends to expand its fleet to 20 A320s by the end of 2007 and to 30 by the end of 2008. (CLK) is targeting a total of 70 routes to 55 main airports across Europe, Spain and the Mediterranean basin. The bulk will be flown out of (BCN), but several point-to-point schedules are planned from other major Spanish cities.

Groundforce announced five new ground handling contracts. Its deal with (CLK) covers the provision of all ramp handling services to March 2009 at Lisbon and Porto. It signed a deal with Emirates (EAD) for ramp handling at Barcelona until November 2009, while LatCharter (LAJ) signed a three-year contract with Groundforce Morocco for full handling services at Fez, Casablanca, Marrakech and Agadir. It also will provide full handling service on an ad-hoc basis for AtlasJet (ABE) for two years at the same four airports. Finally, Groundforce Mexico was contracted by Copa Airlines (COP) to provide ramp handling services at Mexico City.

December 2006: A320-211 (264, EC-ICT - see photo), Iberia (IBE) leased. Livery is now gray instead of metallic.

January 2007: Clickair (CLK) will launch daily flights from Seville and Valencia to London Heathrow on February 2 aboard A320s. (CLK) is taking over the routes from Iberia (IBE) and will operate them under code share. It also will start flights from Barcelona (BCN) to Berlin Tegel and Prague on February 1 and from (BCN) to Dublin, Frankfurt, Basel and Amsterdam on March 1.

February 2007: Starting March 1st, new daily flights from Barcelona to, Amsterdam, Basel, Dublin, & Frankfurt, using A320s. Starting March 25th, La Coruna - London (LHR), and La Coruna - Seville. Starting April 1st, new daily flights, Barcelona - Casablanca; - La Coruna; - Malaga; - Marrakech; - Santiago; - Sevilla; - Verona; & - Vigo, plus Malaga - Bilbao. Starting May 1st, Barcelona - Bucharest; - Helsinki; - Marseille; - Moscow; - Naples; - Palermo; - Vienna; & - Warsaw. Starting June 1st, Barcelona - Budapest; - Dubrovnik; - Malta; & - Venice. Starting July 1st, Baecelona - Rome. Starting August 1st, Barcelona - Jerez de La Frontera; & - Tunis.

April 2007: A320-216 (3109, EC-KCU), delivery.

May 2007: A320-216 (3145, EC-KDT), delivery (to Iberia (IBE)).

June 2007: A320-216 (3151, EC-KDX), delivery (to Iberia (IBE)).

July 2007: A320-216 (3174, EC-KFI), delivery (to Iberia (IBE)).

August 2007: A320-216 (3203, EC-KHN), delivery (to Iberia (IBE)).

September 2007: A320-216 (3237, EC-KJD), delivery to Iberia (IBE).

October 2007: Clickair (CLK) has carried 3.5 million passengers, since it started operations one year ago, and is on target to carry 4.5 million by year end, on 50 routes. Former Iberia (IBE) routes make up 24 of the 50 and 26 are its own. (IBE) holds a 20% stake in (CLK). (CLK) operates 39 routes from its home base at Barcelona El Prat (BCN), where last month, it was the second-largest operator in passengers carried, after (IBE). It currently is operating 22 A320s, up from an initial three at launch. Its flight completion rate is 99.7% and daily airplane utilization averages 12.3 hours. "This performance in our first year, is more than satisfactory," CEO, Alex Cruz said, adding that (CASK) is 4.6 eurocents, which he claimed is the "lowest for a (LCC) operating to main airports." He declined to provide load factor, revenue and operating or net result for the 12 months, but acknowledged that "there is a fare war in the Spanish market and nobody is exempt." From January through August, budget carriers offered +41% more seats in the market than in the year-ago period, while demand rose only +32%. "The 9% overcapacity triggered the fare war," he said. "I'm hopeful for a rationalization of the market." Cruz added that there is considerable "unease" in the market with Spanair (SPP) and (IBE) presently up for sale. During the coming winter schedule, (CLK) will not retreat from any routes in Spain and plans to launch eight new domestic destinations from (BCN). It will drop three international summer routes (Moscow, Malta and Dubrovnik) but add Athens and Sophia.

(BCN)'s new Sur terminal will be used by 42 airlines, including Oneworld (ONW) members and "associates" (CLK), plus Air Nostrum, and Star Alliance (SAL) members plus affiliates Air Comet (APZ) and Aerolineas Argentinas (ARG), Spanish airports operator (Aena) announced. Vueling Airlines (VUZ) also will operate from the new terminal. SkyTeam (STM) carriers, which requested to operate out of T Sur, instead will have exclusive use of the existing Terminal A, while other low-cost operators and airlines without intercontinental flights, will operate out of the B and C terminals.

November 2007: The Dutch Transport and Water Management Inspectorate levied a 30,000/$43,740 penalty on (TAP) Portugal, and a 15,000 fine on Pegasus Airlines (PGS) for repeated abuse of the legally set special noise regime, during the night and early morning period at Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS). Compliance with the relevant environmental standards at (AMS) has been tightened since July, following an agreement between Airport Coordination Netherlands, the Dutch slot coordinator, and the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works. In September, the (IVW) imposed a 30,000 penalty on Fly Air (FLM), and 15,000 penalties on Alitalia (ALI), Delta Air Lines (DAL), Corendon Airlines (CDN), and Air Cairo (AOX). In July, Clickair (CLK) received administrative fines of 60,000 and 15,000, and Atlas Air (TLS) one penalty of 15,000.

January 2009: Clickair (CLK) carried 4.5 million passengers in 2007, in line with its business plan, but full-year revenue came in lower than forecast, CEO, Alex Cruz said while also confirming (CLK) will scale down its planned fleet expansion this year.

Two new A320s are scheduled to be delivered in February and March, but deliveries beyond that, are being put on hold. (CLK) ended 2007 with 23 airplanes and had planned to grow to 30 by the end of this year. "We will not execute this fully this year," Cruz said, citing a price war in Spain and high oil prices. "We favor a cautious approach in this difficult environment. Our contracts allow us flexibility, which also means we can add more capacity later in the year, if the market conditions improve."

However, he revealed he is "extremely pleased" with the operational side of the airline's first full calendar year. "We ended the year with . . . the lowest (CASK) achieved by [a European] Low Cost Carrier (LCC) operating to main airports," he said. Unit cost averaged 0.046/$0.068, including fuel, and 0.033, excluding fuel, he said. He declined to disclose load factors or revenue, though conceding that average income per passenger was lower than expected in the second half owing to a fare war in Spain.

"Our financial performance was less than what we forecast a year ago [break even]," Cruz said. "There is a lot of competition in the Spanish market, and I must say we fought hard. We achieved an amazing growth despite this difficult environment, and despite the high fuel prices." He predicted fares likely will go up, "otherwise some airlines here will go down."

(CLK), which is 20% controlled by Iberia Airlines (IBE), will add some +10 routes this year, including Barcelona (BCN) - Asturias on February 1, (BCN) to Alicante and Dubrovnik on February 24, and (BCN) - Brussels on March 1. It also will add a new product to increase ancillary revenue, a "premium plus" seat that can be bought for 30, at time of booking, and secures an empty middle seat in the first three rows. "This demonstrates our commitment to provide product suited for the business (C) traveler, and fits in our strategy to increase ancillary without increasing costs," Cruz said. The premium plus seat will not be for sale during the summer season when load factors are high.

A320-216 (3376, EC-KLT), delivery (to (IBE)).

February 2008: Clickair (CLK) will commence daily, Bilbao - London Gatwick March 30, aboard an A320. (CLK) is taking over the route from Iberia (IBE).

Vueling Airlines (VUZ)'s largest shareholder, Inversiones Hemisferio, recently confirmed it was in talks with the owners of rival (CLK) and other Spanish airlines about possible tie-ups. SEE ATTACHED - "(CLK)-PLANS-MAR08."

A320-216 (3400, EC-KMI), CIT Group (TCI) leased.

April 2008: ClickAir (CLK) is a Spanish low cost carrier (LCC) connecting Barcelona to 18 other Spanish cities and a range of European destinations.

Employees = 250.

(IATA) Code: XG. (ICAO) Code: (CLI).

Parent organization/shareholders: ACS Group (20%); Iberia (20%); Iberostar (20%); Nefinsa (20%); & Quercus Equity (20%).

Iberia (IBE) holds a 20% stake in the airline, but controls 80% of its economic rights.

Alliances: Iberia (IBE).

Main Base: Barcelona El Prat Airport (BCN).

Hubs: Malaga Airport (AGP); Seville Airport (SVQ); & Valencia Manises Airport (VLC).

(CLK) will launch thrice-weekly, Vigo - London Gatwick on June 21, aboard an A320.

May 2008: The Iberia (IBE) Group said it its first-quarter results were "dulled" by sharp hikes in the price of fuel, resulting in a net loss of -441,000/-$684,000, reversed from a profit of +12.3 million in the year-ago period. It noted that net income was affected by disposal gains on airplanes of 21.7 million. Operating revenue slid -0.7% to 1.3 billion, owing to a -2.3% decrease in passenger revenue, driven by the depreciation of the dollar, overcapacity, and a longer average flight length. Total operating expenses grew +2.5% to 1.32 billion, owing to the sharp rise in the cost of fuel. Its operating loss was -28.3 million, reversed from an operating profit of +13 million a year earlier, despite the reporting quarter benefiting from the Easter holiday, which fell in March this year.

Networkwide (RPK)s traffic rose +1.5% to 12.99 billion on a +1.6% increase in capacity (ASK)s to 16.36 billion. Load factor remained virtually unchanged at 79.4% LF. (RASK) fell -2.2% to 7.95 euro cents, with the most severe decline (-9%) registered in the medium-haul segment. Unit cost, except for fuel, improved +4.8 points to 6.12 euro cents. Including fuel, (CASK) rose +0.9% to 8.12 euro cents.

Chairman, Fernando Conte said shareholders of (CLK), in which (IBE) holds a 20% stake, and its Barcelona (BCN)-based competitor, Vueling Airlines (VUZ) are still talking about a possible merger. Regarding the proposed acquisition of Spanair (SPP), he said the company is "waiting for (SAS) to make a decision," while noting the sector's outlook "has toughened" since it made the offer in February.

(CLK) and Germanwings (RFG) announced an Internet marketing partnership, under which they will make select flights between Spain and Germany available on each other's websites. Effective immediately, (CLK) customers will be redirected to (RFG)'s site, if they wish to fly to Stuttgart or Cologne Bonn from Barcelona, while (RFG) customers will have access to (CLK) flights to Barcelona from Frankfurt, Berlin Tegel, and Munich.

June 2008: Clickair (CLK) and Vueling Airlines (VUZ) shareholders likely will produce a Memo of Understanding (MOU) in the coming weeks that will trigger the merger of the two Barcelona-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC)s, Iberia (IBE) Chairman & CEO, Fernando Conte said. The deal must be presented to the market regulator and competition authorities before a merger can take place. (IBE) will be the majority shareholder in the merged entity, but will not control the company, Conte said. He said discussions regarding the composition of management and the name of the successor airline, continue, and denied recent rumors that the merged (LCC)s would keep the Vueling (VUZ) name. Conte said it would not be a typical (LCC), but an airline featuring a "new business model" tailored to the new environment in Europe. "It will be a point-to-point carrier but offer several features a traditional (LCC) does not have," he revealed, acknowledging that the merged carrier will stay closer to the (CLK) model than that of (VUZ). All flights will have the (IBE) IB code and be available for booking through its computer reservation systems. He said (IBE) "will be a 100% network carrier, with our main base in Madrid."

July 2008: Vueling Airlines (VUZ) and Clickair (CLK) agreed to merge, according to a statement sent to Spanish stock market regulators cited by both "Thomson Financial" and "Reuters." No further details were available. (VUZ) and (CLK) have been talking for months and Iberia (IBE) Chairman & CEO, Fernando Conte, whose airline will be the majority shareholder in the merged carrier, said at last month's (IATA ) (ITA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) that a deal was imminent.

August 2008: Spanish airports first 6 months total passengers, change % (year/year): 1. Madrid 25,714,487 (+4.9%); 2. Barcelona 15,104,278 (-2.1%); 3. Palma 9,841,476 (+0.8%); 4. Malaga 6,102,736 (-1.8%); 5. Gran Canarias 5,177,911 (+2.2%); 6. Alicante 4,562,068 (+11.5%); 7. Tenerife Sur 4,301,020 (+2.3%); 8. Valencia 2,905,657 (+5.1%); 9. Lanzarote 2,712,208 (+3.7%); 10. Girona 2,661,883 (+25.5%).

September 2008: Clickair (CLK) is launching a new Internet portal designed for companies and travel agents as it expects a +42% increase in revenue from this sector in 2009. (CLK) Professional provides users with access to exclusive benefits, including discounts on certain routes, triple loyalty program points for companies, special promotions for travel agents, and a unique tariff enabling cancellations and modifications to be made to reservations without charge, according to CEO, Alex Cruz. (CLK) expects to carry 7.2 million passengers this year, and some 35% of them will fly for business (C). It carried 4.5 million passengers in 2007.

October 2008: Clickair (CLK) plans to ground seven or eight airplanes for the winter season, owing to anticipated weak demand, a spokesperson told "Reuters."

January 2009: The European Commission (EC) is expected to announce the outcome of its first-stage review of the proposed merger of Clickair (CLK) and Vueling Airlines (VUZ). Shareholders of the two Barcelona (BCN)-based Low Cost Carrier (LCC)s agreed on the terms of a merger in July and an initial submission was filed with the Spanish competition authority (CNC), which in August referred the file to the (EU)'s Director General Competition. The (EC) has asked the carriers for remedies, mainly slot surrenders at (BCN) on certain routes (to Seville, for example), in order to address competition issues and possible market dominance.

Insiders expect the (EC) to approve the merger based on the latest exchange of remedies, which took place Monday, although they noted that the opening of a more in-depth second-stage investigation is possible. The blocking of the merger is regarded as unlikely. Under the terms of the shareholders' agreement, Iberia (IBE) will own 45% of the merged entity's capital while Inversiones Hemisferio (IH) will be the second-largest shareholder at about 13% to 14%. Air Nostrum will hold 5%. (IH) currently is (VUZ)'s largest shareholder while (IBE) holds 20% of (CLK).

(CLK) will be absorbed into (VUZ), which will be the name of the merged entity. The company will remain listed on Madrid's stock exchange. (VUZ) shareholders will have the right to nominate the non-executive Chairman and (CLK) shareholders will name the new CEO. Although not formally announced, reports indicate (VUZ) Chairman, Josep Pique will retain that title and (CLK) CEO, Alex Cruz will be CEO.

If cleared by the (EC), the new (VUZ) will become Spain's second-largest carrier. (VUZ) carried 5.9 million passengers last year, down -4.8% from 2007, with an average of 16 airplanes compared to 24 the prior year. (CLK) at year end operated 26 A320s and boarded some 6.5 million passengers in 2008, up 41.3% year-over-year.

Later, the (EC), as expected, granted conditional approval for the merger of (CLK) and (VUZ). Clearance depends upon the release of slots at Barcelona "and other European airports to address competition concerns." (CLK), (VUZ) and (IBE), which will hold 45% of the new airline, have offered to cede slots on "all routes where competition concerns were identified," according to the (EC).

February 2009: The Vueling Airlines (VUZ) board approved the merger with Clickair (CLK). (CLK) will increase its share capital to 5 million shares and will exchange each one for three (VUZ) shares, according to a regulatory filing cited by Dow Jones. (VUZ) and (CLK) will hold an equal number of shares in the new company that will keep the (VUZ) name. (CLK)'s board, controlled by Iberia (IBE), still must approve the deal.

The (CLK) board approved the merger with (VUZ) and said CEO, Alex Cruz will hold the same position at the merged carrier that will keep the "Vueling" (VUZ) name. Current (VUZ) Chairman, Josep Pique will be Chairman of the new entity, according to a statement cited by "Reuters." The Spanish stock market regulator still must sign off on the tie-up.

March 2009: Vueling Airlines (VUZ) and Clickair (CLK) have started cross-selling seats online on all domestic and international flights as the first step in a joint marketing initiative launched by the merging Spanish Low Cost Carriers (LCC)s.

The combined timetables went live on their respective websites. The cross-selling agreement gives customers of both airlines access to more than >10 million seats on a network comprising 89 routes and 45 destinations. "Even though both companies are moving towards a full merger, the cross-selling agreement is still a commercial alliance. Both companies are still formally separate entities until the merger is formally completed," (CLK) Marketing Director, Jaime Lloret said.

The merger received (EU) approval in January and the boards signed the merger covenants last month. Remaining regulatory and legal steps are expected to be finalized by late June or early July. Upon completion, the new (VUZ)'s majority shareholder will be Iberia (IBE) at 40% to 45%. Inversiones Hemisferio, (VUZ)'s current controlling shareholder, will see its stake diluted to approximately 15% from 28%. Some 25% of the new (VUZ)'s stock will continue to be traded on the Madrid Stock Exchange. (CLK) CEO, Alex Cruz will be CEO of the merged company and current (VUZ) Chairman, Josep Pique will be the non-executive chairman.

After the merger, flights operated by the new (VUZ) will code share with (IBE), as (CLK) has since its launch in 2006. All (CLK) flights have been available via the Internet or through traditional Global Distribution Systems (GDS)s via the (IBE) code share. (GDS) sales at (CLK) currently account for nearly 40% of all seats sold.

(CLK) added PayPal to the list of payment options.

April 2009: Vueling Airlines (VUZ) is predicting another full-year profit after reporting a +72.2% year-over-year improvement in its first-quarter net loss to -6.3 million/-$8.2 million from the -22.6 million reported in the year-ago period. (VUZ) cited its restructuring plan aimed at increasing revenue per flight and decreasing its overall cost base. "(VUZ) expects for the combination of higher revenues and lower costs to significantly improve its second quarter (Q2) margin with regards to the same period last year, leading for a positive result for the whole of 2009," (VUZ) said. It posted a +8.5 million profit in 2008.

Revenue fell -15.5% to 74.1 million and operating costs dropped -30.1% to 83.7 million. Operating loss improved +70% from -32.2 million to -9.6 million. Revenue grew +10.8% on a per-passenger basis to 68.55 on a +9.9% increase in average fare to 46.50 and a +22.6% gain in ancillary revenue to 10.19. Unit revenue rose +17.6% to 4.94 and CASK fell -2.8% to 5.58.

Traffic decreased -26.8% to 999 million (RPK)s on a -28.1% reduction in capacity as (VUZ) cut its fleet to 16 A320s from 23 one year ago and trimmed its network by 15 routes to 44. Passengers carried fell -23.7% to 1.1 million and, for the first time over the past five quarters, load factor increased +1.3 points to 66.6% LF. (VUZ) will operate one additional airplane during the second quarter. It is in the process of finalizing its merger with Clickair (CLK).

May 2009: Clickair (CLK) will operate all London routes out of Heathrow (LHR) from June 1, switching its Vigo and Seville service to (LHR) from London Gatwick (LGW). It already operates daily, Bilbao and La Coruna flights to/from (LHR).

June 2009: The Clickair (CLK)/Vueling (VUZ) merger is expected to be completed by mid-July, when the combined entity will start flying under a unified designator code and a single name (Vueling) (CLK)/(VUZ) and all Clickair (CLK) assets will be transferred to the listed Vueling Airlines (VUZ) company. "It will be confusing for passengers," Clickair (CLK) CEO, Alex Cruz, who will be CEO of the merged entity, conceded. "We hope to reach 30% to 40% of passengers in advance of their journey and we will put manpower in the airports, at the entrance, the check-in and security lines, to help them with the changes." In the UK, for example, (CLK) (is well known but (VUZ) is not at present.

Beyond initial passenger confusion, the merger will work well, Cruz contended. He explained that the service offerings of (CLK)/(VUZ) are nearly identical, as are their fleets, helping to facilitate a smooth integration. "And the European Commission (EC) [has] allowed us to work commercially together since January," he added.

The new (CLK)/(VUZ) will operate under one Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and fly a fleet of 35 A320s, 17 from Vueling (VUZ) and 18 from Clickair (CLK). No capacity will be removed following the merger, Cruz said, noting that both carriers reduced their fleets by a total of 15 airplanes in the past year owing to falling demand and increasing competition.

Just 28% of the pair's (ASK)s capacity overlap, equating to about 20 of their 92 routes. The overlapping capacity will be used "to strengthen other routes and launch new routes," he said. The new (CLK)/(VUZ) will generate revenue of around 800 million/$1.12 billion annually, he estimated. Revenue synergies resulting from the merger should generate 40 to 45 million in a "normal" year and cost synergies will lead to savings of -75 million over three years, he said. Both companies posted a negative (EBIT) last year; Clickair (CLK) reported a 45.6 million operating deficit on revenue of 444.3 million and Vueling (VUZ)'s operating loss amounted to 38.2 million on revenue of 437.6 million.

July 2009: Iberia (IBE) will not be required to launch a full bid for Vueling Airlines (VUZ) following its merger with Clickair (CLK), Spanish stock market regulator "CNMV" ruled. (IBE) will own 45.9% of the merged entity, exceeding the 30% threshold that normally triggers the obligation to make a full bid under domestic regulations. Completion of the two competitors' merger is expected in mid-July.

(VUZ) and (CLK) integrated their operations at 1 minute past midnight on July 9 as planned. The merged airline is flying under one Air Operator Certificate (AOC) and holds a 6.8% share of the Spanish market, based on (AENA) figures for the first five months of this year, making it the second-largest Spanish carrier after (IBE), which has a 15.8% market share and owns a 45.85% stake in the new (VUZ). Ryanair (RYR) and easyJet (EZY) hold 10.9% and 7.2% market shares in The Spanish government will lend domestic airlines up to 600 million/$895.8 million in 2010 to 2012 in order to "avoid possible restructuring or bankruptcies," it said in a statement cited by "Dow Jones."Spain respectively. SEE ATTACHED - - "CLK-VUZ-JUL09."

Along with the integration, (VUZ) moved operations to Terminal 2B at its Barcelona base, though it will move to the new T1 in September. On the first day of joint operations, it operated 263 flights on 71 routes.

In addition to (IBE)'s holding, Inversiones Hemisferio has a 14.3% share and Nefinsa controls 4.15%. Free float will be around 35%.

October 2009: Vueling Airlines (VUZ), which merged with Clickair (CLK) in July, posted a third-quarter operating profit of +68.1 million/+$102.1 million compared to (EBIT) of 24.7 in the year-ago period when it was an independent carrier. Revenue rose +68.6% year-over-year to 259.2 million and operating expenses increased +48.2% to 191.1 million. Unit revenue fell by just -1.3% to 6.97 euro cents as fuel surcharges rose, while (CASK) sank -13.2% to 5.14 euro cents thanks to dropping oil prices and "cautious" fuel hedges. Third-quarter capacity grew +70.8% to 3.72 billion (ASK)s as Vueling (VUZ)'s fleet rose from 20 to 35 A320s. Traffic increased +75.5% to 2.97 billion (RPK)s and load factor gained +2.1 points to 80% LF. (VUZ) served 47 airports as of September 30, +25 more than on the year-ago date. Operating profit for the nine months to September 30 was +71.9 million compared to a loss of -18.7 million in the year-ago period. (VUZ) said "no major changes in the demand situation are foreseen" for the fourth quarter. (VUZ) expects 2010 results to be "even better" than 2009's.

The Spanish government will lend domestic airlines up to 600 million/$895.8 million in 2010 to 2012 in order to "avoid possible restructuring or bankruptcies," it said in a statement cited by "Dow Jones."

November 2009: French slot coordinator (COHOR) said it redistributed a pool of 6,672 slots at Paris Orly for the summer 2010 season, with half awarded to carriers with new entrant status and half to incumbents. New entrant slots were allocated to easyJet Switzerland (TEB) for two daily flights to Venice, Vueling Airlines (VUZ)/(CLK)`and Pegasus Airlines (PGS) for one daily flight each and to Wizz (WZZ) for four weekly flights to Bratislava. Incumbent slots were allocated to (TAP) Portugal for three daily flights, Iberia (IBE) for one daily flight, Midex Airlines (MIX) for three weekly flights, and Air Algerie (ALG) for one weekly flight.

February 2010: Benefitting from its merger with Clickair (CLK), Vueling Airlines (VUZ) reported a 2009 net profit of +27.7 million/+$37.6 million, a more-than-threefold increase from the +8.5 million it earned as a standalone company in 2008.

Turnover rose +36.3% to 601.6 million, including a +42.9% jump in passenger ticket revenue to 456.8 million. Expenses increased +12.4% to 530.2 million. (VUZ)'s +71.4 million operating profit (excluding restructuring costs) compared to negative (EBIT) of 30.5 million in 2008.

(VUZ) flew 7.5 billion (RPK)s traffic in 2009, up +34.3%, on a +28.1% hike in capacity to 10.2 billion (ASK)s. Load factor gained +3.4 points to 73.7% LF. It operated an average of 26 airplanes during the year. Passenger numbers grew +39.3% to 8.2 million, and average fare inched up +2.6% to 55.73. However, ancillary revenue per passenger fell -17.7% to 9.02, owing to a change in its insurance policy from opt-out to opt-in, which followed European Union (EU) regulations, in addition to an increase in sales through offline channels where some ancillary products are included in the basic fare. Unit revenue was up +6.4% to 5.91 cents, (CASK) fell -12.3% to 5.21 cents and unit cost excluding fuel rose +3.4% to 4.18 cents.

In the fourth quarter, (VUZ) posted a net loss of -13 million, +23% greater than the -10.6 million deficit reported in the year-ago period. Revenue increased +84% year-over-year to 160 million.

Looking forward, (VUZ) said it expects to capture 15.5 million in cost synergies this year and revenue synergies of 20 million in just the first half. These combined synergies, taken in conjunction with recently launched cost and revenue improvement plans totalling more than 25 million in value, "should allow (VUZ) to more than offset the effects of increased competition and improve net margins of 2010 in respect to 2009." It plans no "significant" changes in the size the fleet.

April 2010: Vueling Airlines (VUZ) reported a -6.3 million/-$8.4 million first-quarter net loss, on par with the deficit it posted in the year-ago quarter as a standalone company, despite a +90% rise in revenue to 141.8 million.

Vueling (VUZ) merged with Clickair (CLK) last July and its first-quarter revenue, cost and traffic figures are much higher year-over-year owing to the combination. Total expenses climbed +84% to 154.8 million and operating loss deepened +35% to 13 million from 9.6 million in the year-earlier period. On a pro-forma basis, first-quarter net loss more than halved from a consolidated -13.9 million loss for (VUZ) and (CLK) in the first quarter of 2009. Pro-forma revenue rose just +2%.

Passengers carried more than doubled to 2.2 million. Traffic grew +98% to 1.98 billion (RPK)s on a +88% capacity increase to 2.8 billion (ASK)s, pushing load factor up +3 points to 70% LF. (RASK) declined -1% to .051 and (CASK) decreased -2% to .058. (CASK) excluding fuel fell -7% to 0.043. It operated 98 routes with 35 airplanes during the quarter compared to 45 routes and 19 A320s a year earlier.

(VUZ) said it is on "on target for an improved net profit" for the full year despite the negative effect of the volcanic ash cloud in the second quarter. It also expects "a high degree of competitive intensity" and an increase in fuel costs in the current quarter. It cancelled 482 flights affecting 72,249 passengers owing to the airspace closure. It aims to reduce (CASK) ex-fuel to 0.04 cents for the full year.

SEE VUELING AIRLINES (VUZ).

Fleet:
(definitions)

Click below for photos:
CLK-A320
CLK-A320 EC-GRF
CLK-A320 EC-ICT DEC06

December 2011:

18 +5 ORDERS A320-211 (CFM56-5A1) (136, /90 EC-GRF "MONTSENY"- SEE PHOTO; 146, /90 EC-GRH "SIERRA DE SEGURA;" 240, /91 EC-ICR "ISLA DE LA CARTUJA;" 241, /91 EC-ICS "SIERRA DE GRAZALEMA;" 264, /91 EC-ICT, "MONTE ALHOYA" 2006-12 - SEE PHOTO; 312, EC-ICV, 2007-01), (IBE) WET-LSD. 147Y.

7 A320-216 (3109, EC-KCU, 2007-04; 3145, EC-KDT, 2007-05; 3151, EC-KDX, 2007-06; 3174, EC-KFI, 2007-07; 3203, EC-KHN, 2007-08; 3237, EC-KJD, 2007-09; 3376, EC-KLT, 2008-01), (IBE) WET-LSD. 147Y.

1 A320-216 (3400, EC-KMI, 2008-02), (TCI) LSD. 147Y.

Management:
(definitions)

Click below for photos:
CLK-CEO-SEP06
CLK-VUZ-CEO-MAR09

JOSEP PIQUE, NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF MERGED (CLK) & (VUZ) (2009-03).

CARLOS LOSADA, NON-EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN.

ALEX CRUZ, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO), EX-(AAL) (2006-09), (CEO) OF MERGED (CLK) & (VUZ) (2009-03).

LUIS A GALLEGO, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER (COO).

 
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