The airline company Air Europa celebrated on the 15th December its 30th anniversary in the Spanish Embassy in Belgium. The event were attended by the Ambassadors of the countries where the company operates, as well as by members of the diplomatic body, representatives of the chambers of commerce and colleagues from the tourism and press sector.
During his speech, the Director General from Air Europa in France and Belgium, Alcino Ribeiro, undertook a brief overview of the beginnings of the company, whose success is the work of the president of the Globalia Group, Juan José Hidalgo, who emigrated to Switzerland at the age of 19. Thanks to the savings earned from working as a painter, a waiter and a builder, he bought a Mercedes that he used to transport migrants who wanted to enter in Spain. Soon after, he bought a bus and, afterwards, the acquisition of a bus fleet came to his mind. According to Ribeiro, that is how he founded the Halcón company, a travel agency he bought later.
Then, as Ribeiro reminded, Hidalgo started up a flight between Madrid and Zurich, which was his first experience in the airline sector.
The origins of Air Europa as we know it nowadays comes back from 1986. “It was called Air España at the time”, as the Director-General in France and Belgium indicated. This company was created by an English businessman to flight between Spain and the UK. The first commercial flight went from Tenerife to London the 21st November 1986, 30 years ago, the reason why this anniversary took place in Belgium the 15th December.
Ribeiro related that five years later, in 1991, Juan José Hidalgo bought the company, after the bankruptcy of the English stakeholders, and changed its name to Air Europa.
Some of the key dates on the history of the company:
- 1993: Air Europa, charter flight Company, transforms to a regular Company and starts to operate in the domestic Spanish flights.
- 1995: International flights started like the London or the New York
- 1996: Air Europa reaches 750 weekly flights and initiates another symbolic one: Madrid-Paris.
- 1998: Creation of the Globalia Group, integrated by companies such as Halcón or Travelplan, of which Air Europa is the main subsidiary.
- 2000: Close to 6 million passengers reached on board of Air Europa.
- 2007: Air Europa joins SkyTeam Alliance and suggests Flying Blue.
- 2008: Air Europa asks for 8 Boeing 787 that it is receiving currently.
- 2012: Air Europa performs a record year in terms of creation of new flight lines, Brussels-Madrid line deserves a special mention.
- 2015: It is the beginning of the modernization plan of the fleet, the exclusive on board services and the release of a new corporate image. Air Europa reaches over 10 million passengers.
- 2016: This year Air Europa opens new long distance flight lines: Bogota (Colombia, 28th June) Guayaquil (Ecuador, 16th December) Cordoba (Argentina, 18th December).
- Air Europa disposes of a 51-plane fleet: 11 Embraer 195, 20 Boeing 737-800, 15 Airbus 330 and 5 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
- 2017: two new routes are expected: San Pedro Sula (Honduras) in April and Boston in June.
The event was supported by the Spanish Tourism Office in Belgium, the Tourism Office from the Dominican Republic, and the Tourism Office from Peru. The Hispania restaurant also contributed to the success of this celebration.
Air Europa received in 2013 the Company of the Year award of the Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Belgium and Luxembourg, in recognition of its quick commercial positioning in Belgium.