Islas Afortunadas, Aerocanarias, Victoria Airways Bird Blue… Every now and then a new project is said to be about to start operations. We have been following what is going on with these start-ups in this blog but at the moment none of them have seen the light of day. Last Friday, Preferente.com published an article on this subject.
The Canary Islands has been used for several attempts which don’t seem to end in anything tangible. One of these is the case of Islas Afortunadas, a company to be based in the Canary Islands. They intended to begin operating in the fall of 2013. The idea was to operate inter island, domestic and international flights. They were going to have a fleet made up of 12 BAE 146s and 2 Airbus A320s. All with a staff of 400 employees. Their expectations were to reach 3.5 million passengers within the first year. Today, this airline continues to be a project without a take off date. Additionally, according to Preferente.com, they have removed almost every trace from the internet.
In the same line, there is no recent news about Aerocanarias either. Approximately at the same time as Islas Afortunadas, Aerocanarias announced they would begin operating. They were also supposed to have funds from the Canary Islands: 40 million Euros to acquire an Embraer ERJ170, an Airbus A320 and an Airbus A330. In April 2013 they were already saying they would start “in the forthcoming days”, while they waited for the AOC. Their intention was to end the inter island flight monopoly. Then, in the middle term, they aimed to fly to Scandinavian countries and South America but, unfortunately, they haven’t started yet.
Another Canary Island start-up of which we have never again heard any news is Bird Blue Air Line. They also wanted to solve the connectivity problems of the Canary Islands. They intended to operate between the Islands and Madrid, Barcelona and Santiago de Compostela. For that purpose, the plan was to have an ATR-72 fleet in lease agreements and one Boeing.
Also in the Balearic Islands, there were projects such as Victoria Internationl Airways that in the end didn’t happen. This project was boosted by two entrepreneurs from Málaga and Mallorca. But the project seems to be at a standstill after several years of not being able to find a plane to start operations.
Menorca was supposed to be about to have a new airline as well. In September of 2013, two entrepreneurs from the island announced a new project. They wanted to invest 10 million Euros with help from the administrations. They were going to hire 115 employees to operate inter island flights and fly from Menorca to Madrid and Barcelona. Europe would be the next step.
Air Horizont did not end up flying, but they did sell 4,000 tickets. Their plan is now to become a charter company. León Air did take off. But they left 500 passengers stranded. They were based at the Burgos airport. The future looks grim for both these companies.
Photo: People waiting for departure at Tenerife South airport terminal / Jeremy Page – Flickr.
The Canary Islands currently have two airlines flying between the islands; Binter, which also flies to Spain and to places like Madeira, Dakar, Marrakech the Cape Verdes and Lison; and Canaryfly, a new company with more limited flights between the islands. Islas Airways is no longer operational.