An airline that operated out of Madrid-Barajas Airport in Spain, Quantum Air has had several titles in its time, being called Aerolineas de Baleares and AeBal. Responsible for transporting passengers on a scheduled flight basis within Spain, the company also operated chartered and ACMI flights throughout Europe. Ceasing to trade at the end of January 2010, Quantum Air originally wet leased their fleet to Spanair and formerly operated in their own right.
Starting its life in 1999 with three Boeing 717s, Quantum Air took to the sky for the first time in July 2000 at Madrid Airport. At this point, the airline used it’s Spanish title, Aerolineas de Baleares Blue Star and operated under the AeBal-Spanair linked brand. A company that was owned 51:49% between Spanair and the SAS Group, the airline employed just over 150 people and operated domestic scheduled flights to Bilbao, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Malaga, Seville and Alicante from it’s bases in Madrid and Palma de Mallorca.
‘A marvelous airline to work for!’ – Spanish pilot 2007
Its somewhat short and turbulent journey saw the overall company established in 1999, the use ceasing of the AeBal part of its operations in 2008 and SAS exiting in 2009 with many of it’s financial systems being removed. The Quantum Airline journey had its final touch down in January 2010.
‘I couldn’t have asked for a better holiday flight!’ – Terry Bookkeeper, Virtual Business Source 2008
Airlines during the lifetime of Quantum Air saw many changes, with financial planning becoming turbulant, pricing strategies changing and prices literally tumbling from the sky. This made the 1990s and the early 2000s a really tough time for airlines to remain competitive. In fact, in 2010 it is reported that as many as 20 airlines were forced to shut the doors on their departures.
Names such as Skyservice, Air Jamaica, Blue Wings and FlyDirect are amongst the list of casualties that coincided with Quantum Air’s demise. During this period, the likes of Ryanair and EasyJet were taking apart, bit by bit, an industry that had been steeped in luxury and high prices for years beforehand. Although many of the airline spokespeople from the likes of British Airways and Lufthansa refused at the outset to believe that consumers would be taken in by budget prices and being forced to buy every extra that had previously been included in the price, they later had to eat their words. Flights were suddenly being stacked high to sell cheap. People moved in their droves from British Airways to the budget airlines; irrespective of their reasons for travel.
At the end of the day, the objective of any airline is to make money and selling seats at prices that people can afford and are willing to pay is an important part of achieving this objective. The recession brought with it savvy consumers who were seeking more for their money and they were keener than ever to shop around and make compromises. The analogy of the supermarkets illustrates this perfectly and has many similarities with what has happened in the airline industry. You only need to look around you to see the number of loyal Waitrose shoppers who are now loyal Lidl or Aldi fans to begin appreciate what has happened to airlines like Quantum Air.