Spanish carrier Air Europa has launched a twice-daily London Gatwick-Madrid service offering short connections to South American destinations such as Caracas and Buenos Aires.
The airline, Spain’s second largest after Iberia, operates primarily in the leisure market but is aiming to attract more business customers with the new service, which began on March 29. Prior to that the route had been operated as a codeshare with Air Comet.
Flights depart Gatwick's South Terminal at 1025 and 1740, with return flights leaving Madrid at 0805 and 1520. The flights are timed to provide convenient connections for passengers continuing to a range of South American destinations.
The route is operated on a two-class, 122-seat Embraer 195 aircraft, with 14 business class seats and 108 economy in a 2-2 layout. Seats are the same size in both classes, with a pitch of 30-31 inches/76-79cm, but business class passengers receive newspapers, refresher towels, a meal and drinks.
The airline will be competing with Easyjet on the route but UK general manager Colin Stewart was keen to differentiate Air Europa from the budget carrier. “We don’t see ourselves as a low-cost airline, although we’re very competitive on price,” he said. When Business Traveller checked rates over the next few months, prices started from €44 (£40) one-way, although the carrier says it does offer lead-in fares as low as £28. British Airways also serves the route.
Stewart added that introducing the Gatwick service was a strategic move for the company. “London is a key market and we see this route as a starting point in terms of growing our London services,” he said.
Air Europa flies to 35 destinations in 14 countries from its Madrid base. Visit aireuropa.com for more information.
Report by Michelle Mannion