What is Air Europa’s business model?
We run our hub operation out of Madrid and have key European bases in Amsterdam and London as well as in Italy, France and Portugal, which feed into our long-haul flights via Madrid. We also have a very strong domestic Spanish route network and connect the Balearic and Canary islands with the mainland and beyond.
What are your primary markets?
Air Europa is Spain’s first privately-owned airline to offer national scheduled flights. We have a great history and reputation in Spain and have recently seen a real growth in our long-haul markets. Since our UK launch nearly four years ago, we have been working hard to establish Air Europa as the Latin America specialist with affordable flights to a range of destinations across Latin America and the Spanish Caribbean. They include Buenos Aires, Lima, Salvador de Bahia, Caracas, Havana, Santo Domingo, Punta Cana and Cancún.
In March, we increased our London to Madrid capacity by a third and from June 26, our Lima route will increase from a twice-weekly service to daily to keep up with the growing UK demand.
What is your fleet makeup and what are the benefits of this mix?
Air Europa has a fleet of over 40 aircraft. We have a mix of B737s and E195s for our short-haul routes and use the A330 for all of our long-haul destinations. We also pride ourselves on having one of the world’s most modern fleet of aircraft with an average age of 3.5 years.
What do you want to hear from airports and regions that want you to start a new route?
There has to be a strong commercial drive before we would consider a new operation including passenger demand, size of potential market, fleet availability, strategic fit and the impact of the new service on existing Gatwick operations.
I have been approached on many occasions by regional airports and in some cases it simply comes down to timing. Having worked for BAA and been heavily involved in trying to attract airlines, I know how difficult this process can be.
Was Air Europa affected by the collapse of Spanair?
It is always a sad occasion when an airline disappears (I should know, I used to be director of marketing at Eos Airlines), but you have to try and remove any competitive prejudice and think about the real people who have lost jobs and now have an uncertain future ahead of them.
We were affected by the collapse of Spanair, albeit in a small way, as we had a number of codeshare agreements for our domestic Spanish routes and subsequently, had to manage the impact this had on our passengers.
What are you doing to reduce carbon emissions?
The German organisation Atmosfair, which specialises in the environmental performance of airlines, spent more than a year researching 150 airline companies around the world and concluded that Air Europa was the most efficient airline for medium- and short-haul flights. In other words, we have the lowest emissions per passenger we carry.
To be internationally recognised as the best in the world on this pertinent environmental issue is, I believe, something special.
We are dedicated to continually renewing our fleet for ones that are more technologically advanced and energy efficient. In fact, we recently incorporated 11 Embraers and will soon be the first Spanish airline to have eight units of the B787 Dreamliner. This new plane will further add to our green credentials as we’ll be able to save up to 20% of used fuel because of its new design and fuselage. Our aim is to become the most efficient airline in the world for long-haul flights – so watch this space!
What attracted you to the aviation industry?
Interestingly enough, the travel industry found me, as I studied business at university and had the opportunity to take a year out to gain some work experience. I was given the chance to join BAA Stansted and work in their public affairs team and as they say, the rest is history. I love the variety and pace in which our industry moves and no one can ever say it’s dull!
Why did Air Europa join SkyTeam?
Air Europa has over 25 years’ experience in striving to deliver the very best service levels and product. As such, it was a natural fit for us to align ourselves to the SkyTeam, as we offer the partner airlines excellent access into Spain and Latin America, while Air Europa benefits from its joint marketing initiatives and promotions. Our membership also offers our travel partners extra reassurance and confidence in who we are and what we can offer.
What is the best piece of business advice that you ever received?
It has to be, “Look after your team and they will look after you”. As we continue to raise Air Europa’s profile as the Latin America specialist, it’s become increasingly clear that you need to have the right people around, to treat them with respect and be willing to listen to their contributions. This will lead to a happier and more unified team and ultimately, benefit the business in the long-term.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Enthusiastic, loyal and determined!
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
As a father of four young children, I think you can guess what I do when I’m not working! Almost all of my free time is spent with my wife and children and I couldn’t think of anything more rewarding. When I do have a free moment, I like to try and convince myself that I am still a good footballer by playing a game of five-a-side. Unfortunately, I am not as quick or as fit as I used to be!
If you hadn’t gone into aviation, what other job would you have done?
I would have liked to set up a photographic business with my wife. As usual, I always try to surround myself with competent and talented people and, as I have no photographic skills I would have happily managed the business while my wife worked her magic. The freedom of being my own boss is also very appealing.