Profile of Spanair Company

Majorca-based Spanair is Spain’s second biggest airline, after Iberia. Founded in 1986, it is facing mounting losses from fierce competition and rising fuel prices.

By Jon Swaine, Last Updated: 4:36PM BST 20 Aug 2008

The 63-plane business, which carries 10m passengers a year, is owned by Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS), the leading Nordic carrier. Last June SAS announced it planned to sell Spanair, which made a loss of about £40m in the first half of this year.

But after a year of failing to attract any acceptable bids, SAS announced it would be forced to keep the subsidiary, which flies 371 daily departures between 36 airports, sending its share price tumbling.

Shortly before the Madrid crash, Spanair pilots threatened to strike over a plans to cut capacity by a quarter and sack more than 1,000 staff – more than a quarter of its workforce. “The organised chaos in which the company exists can’t continue,” said the Spanish pilots’ union Sepla.

Michael O’Leary, the boss of Ryanair, had said he was already looking forward to taking Spanair’s landing slots at Madrid’s Barajas airport in the “likely” event of it going bust.

Though it has made intercontinental journeys since 1997, and offers routes to North Africa, Spanair’s main trade comes from domestic flights and taking holidaymakers on short hops to other European destinations.

The company’s publicity boasts that its “priorities are to offer the best levels of safety, punctuality, comfort and excellence in service.”

Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press
Spanair Company

Spanair is a troubled low-cost carrier owned by S.A.S., Scandinavian Airlines System. On Aug. 20, 2008, a Spanair MD-82 en route to the Canary Islands swerved off the end of a runway at Madrid’s airport during takeoff, killing more than 150 people.

Founded in 1986, Spanair has hubs in Madrid and Barcelona and flies within Spain and the rest of Europe, as well as West Africa.

It lost $81 million in the first half of 2008, and S.A.S. has said that it plans to cut a quarter of Spanair’s flights and eliminate about 1,000 jobs, or about a third of its employees.

S.A.S. tried to sell the money-losing airline in 2007, only to drop the effort in June 2008, after it could not find a buyer. Spain’s largest airline, Iberia, pulled out of discussions, and later initiated separate merger talks with British Airways.

Spanair, which carried 11.2 million passengers in 2007, is part of the Star Alliance, which also includes United Airlines, Air Canada, S.A.S. and Lufthansa of Germany.

(sources : the new york times and


(taken from

Spanair S.A., a Spanish airline was founded in December of 1986. It is 100% owned by the SAS Group (Scandinavian Airlines). Flights began at the end of March 1988, and since then more than 104* million passengers have flown with Spanair.

Spanair began operations with its international charter flights, carrying tourists to Spain from more than 100 European airports. The company has also developed important domestic vacation traffic between the Spanish peninsula and the Balearic and Canary Islands. After adding B-767-300ER planes to its fleet, the company increased its operations by adding long-distance routes in 1991.

In February of 1994 Spanair began its scheduled operation within Spain, and shortly afterward it increased its European routes, while at the same time establishing its ground personnel service system. At present, 87% of the company’s flights are scheduled, while the remaining 13% are split between Charter and other operations*.

In November of 1997 Spanair began its first scheduled flights to intercontinental markets with service between Madrid and Dulles international airport in Washington. This was followed by flights from Madrid to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Havana, which have led to code share agreements with many prestigious airlines.

When Spanair began its operations in 1988, it transported 454.624** passengers, with sales of 36 million euros. In 2007 some 11.2 million passengers flew with the company and consolidated revenues for the Spanair Group 2007, reached 1.171 million euros.

Punctuality is a priority for Spanair, as well as for its passengers. For this reason, since February 2001, it is the only Spanish airline offering a punctuality guarantee commitment on its domestic routes, in line with the idea of ensuring the highest quality service to all its passengers both in-flight and on the ground.

The Punctuality Guarantee system rewards Business Avant travellers with an Avant electronic voucher that can be exchanged for another flight travelling in any class that the passenger chooses and on any Spanair domestic route within the Spanish Peninsula or the Balearic Islands. To receive a free ticket that is valid for any flight to or from the Canary Islands, two Avant electronic vouchers will be required. An electronic voucher will also be given to passengers who travel Economy class that entitles them to a 25% discount based on the online or published fare and valid for the next time they buy any domestic flight operated by the airline. These conditions apply if the aircraft doors close more than 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time due to reasons attributable to the airline.

As well as this, since the 10th of March 2008 Spanair launched its Spanairx4 product, which gives customers flying its domestic routes the option of choosing between four different flight classes: Business, Avant, Economy Plus and Economy. The company is thereby offering its passengers a time-saving product, which enhances flexibility and adds to the advantages offered by the four classes.

Spanair was awarded the ALPHA Excellence in Marketing, which honours the company’s initiative towards their passengers and improvement of standards in quality of service. Spanair was also awarded with an ISO 9001:2000 certified Corporate Quality Program and became the first Spanish airline to receive an IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) certification.

Since April 1st. 2003, Spanair, is a member of the Star Alliance network, the biggest and most successful airline alliance in the world.

* 9% from Charter operations, 4% from ACMI, Cargo & Mail, & Other
** Source: Civil Aviation

Other news about Spanair :

Major Staff, Capacity Cuts At Spanair

Aug 8, 2008

By Robert Wall

Spanair plans to slash around 1,000 employees and capacity by around 24% in the near future.

The capacity cut will be implemented quickly, with 15 aircraft to be phased out between September 15 and November 1. Along the way, nine routes will be shuttered and frequencies on others reduced.

Owner SAS Group had tried to unload Spanair, but once it couldn’t find a buyer, it determined it would try to bring the airline back to financial health on its own. The package announced today is part of the so-called Feasibility Plan aimed at generating a EUR90 million improvement in the airline’s financial results next year.

This morning the airline says it notified the Spanish ministry of labor and immigration of its cutback plans.

Overall, management says, the Feasibility Plan has four elements, cutting capacity, costs, improving efficiency, and other revenue generating measures. The airline blames the need for the action on slowing demand and high fuel costs.

As part of the network adjustment, Spanair will also focus on Barcelona and Madrid as operational bases. Five other bases (Bilbao, Las Palmas, Malaga, Tenerife Norte, and Palma de Mallorca) will lose that status. The goal is to simplify operations and thereby boost efficiency.

The contraction echoes a decision Iberia has already taken, which decided to focus its Spanish traffic on the Madrid hub.

Talks with labor are slated to start soon. Having filed its plans with the government triggers a 30-day period for labor and management to work out a way to implement the cutbacks.

Photo: Marek Slusarczyk via Wikipedia

Spanair pilots threaten strike after criticising cost-saving plan

By David Kaminski-Morrow

Pilots at SAS Group carrier Spanair are threatening to strike after accusing the company’s management of failing to put together a solid business plan for the struggling Spanish airline.

SAS Group failed to sell Spanair after potential investors lost interest in bidding for the Palma de Mallorca-based operator, which turned in heavy losses for the first half of this year.

The carrier has embarked on an initiative which will reduce capacity by a quarter and could involve shedding over 1,000 personnel.

But Spanish pilots union SEPLA says the company is wallowing in “organised chaos” and believes the management is failing to mitigate the “structural weakness” of Spanair.

It claims that the new initiative is “vague”, containing “only a plan for immediate cost-savings” with “nothing for the company’s future”. SEPLA adds that the pilots will take steps to arrange a lawful strike.

The union criticises Spanair’s corporate structure, claims the carrier has no control over expenditure, and says aspects such as investment in the fleet have not materialised.


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  1. Pingback: Kecelakaan Pesawat Spanair Boeing MD-82 di Madrid Spanyol « RizkiBeo’s Transport Reflections

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