Volotea is set to offer direct flight connections between Gibraltar and Spain with a new twice-weekly Airbus A319 service. This will be the first time a regularly scheduled route between the two has been operated with a fixed-wing aircraft since Iberia withdrew from the airport back in 2008.
Despite serving a British Overseas Territory that is smaller than Frankfurt Airport, Gibraltar International Airport is well known around the world, primarily due to its unique runway. The vast majority of the airport’s traffic goes to and from the United Kingdom. However, Royal Air Maroc planes have also frequently served the airport from its neighbor 21km to the south.
Volotea connects Gibraltar to Spain
Simple Flying recently analyzed where Volotea would look to send its Airbus A320 aircraft this summer. However, it has now been revealed that the type’s smaller sister, the Airbus A319, will also get a new route this summer. Flights will start priced at just €28.
According to Gibraltar Airport, Volotea is set to launch a bi-weekly connection between the British Overseas Territory and Bilbao on the north Spanish coast. The first flight will take to the skies on July 2nd, with the carrier offering around 8,200 seats between July and September. It’s not the only new route between the two, with Eastern Airlines announcing flights back in early February.
Commenting on the new route, Carlos Muñoz, Founder and CEO of Volotea, said,
“True to our vocation, we want to continue to connect small and medium-sized cities with great flexibility and to do so with maximum safety. We are very happy to be able to announce the opening of this new route that seeks to satisfy a demand that was not being met.”
The first such service since 2008
Historically, tensions have existed between Gibraltar and Spain, giving Volotea’s new route launch more significance than most. Located on the Iberian Peninsula’s southern tip, the British Crown took possession of the territory from the Spanish Crown in the early 1700s.
In December 2006, Iberia operated the first flight between Spain and Gibraltar since 1979, according to The Guardian. The first flight from Madrid even carried a Spanish Diplomat. However, according to FlightGlobal, the connection was short-lived, with Iberia ending the link in September 2008, less than two years after it had launched.
A well-known airport
Regardless of your views on the Spanish Gibraltar border politics, the airport is well known for another reason. A four-lane main road runs across the runway almost perpendicular to the direction of air traffic. Each time a flight lands or departs, traffic will begin to back up as the road is closed. The adjacent football club also has to lower its floodlights when not in use, given its proximity.
However, tourists and locals may not be able to walk across the runway in the future. For years work has been underway on a tunnel around the runway to divert traffic. This has faced significant delays, with an initial completion date of 12 years ago.
Are you pleased to see the resumption of fixed-wing scheduled air services between Spain and Gibraltar? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!