Binter flies to the European market

It all started 33 years ago with a small 40-seater turboprop.

Thomas Osborne
Thomas Osborne
30 December 2022 Friday 15:41
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Binter flies to the European market

It all started 33 years ago with a small 40-seater turboprop. A CASA CN235 built in Seville was the first aircraft for Binter Canarias. Created as a division of Iberia for flights in the archipelago, it began to fly in March 1989 and was its regional subsidiary until 2002 when a group of local businessmen bought it, making it clearly Canarian.

"There is nothing like deciding the future of a company from where it operates and having a system of companies that encompass everything that is needed to fly," explains Rodolfo Núñez, president of Binter and the company's largest individual shareholder. “We are a very unique community, with eight islands, eight airports and where flying is as daily as it is vital. Our objective has been very simple: to unite the archipelago in the best possible way and execute an expansion plan beyond our territory”, he indicates, referring to a network of international flights that has grown over the years.

Taking advantage of the geographical location of the Canary Islands, it operates towards Africa, with ten destinations in Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, The Gambia and Senegal. It also flies to other Atlantic archipelagos such as Madeira, Cape Verde and the Azores.

Since it became locally owned and managed, the airline has invested more than 1,250 million euros in renewing the fleet and has created a system of 15 companies to provide all the services: comprehensive maintenance, aircraft assistance and ground passage. , air cargo or information technology services.

One of the qualitative leaps was the incorporation of jets to reach unthinkable destinations when the company was founded: three direct lines from the Canary Islands to Lisbon, Vigo and Palma. In the one that joins the two archipelagos, there is great demand due to the weight of the hotel industry at both ends, mixing leisure and business passengers in a balanced way. Initially, the operation with jets was rented from another Spanish regional airline, Air Nostrum, although since 2019 the long lines and inter-island lines with the highest demand began to operate with Embraer E195-E2 model jets; but the landing of the five E195s coincided with the global health crisis.

The pandemic did not stop Binter, because even in the hardest times of the covid it continued to unite the islands, although it did make it rethink where to direct its growth and Spain and Europe were chosen. Between the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands, it currently flies to 13 destinations, in addition to three in Italy, as many in France and three more in the Azores and Madeira, where it is also in charge of uniting its islands. Today its fleet is made up of 24 ATR72 turboprops and five Embraer 195 jets with which it makes an average of 220 flights to 40 destinations every day and plans to close this year with a turnover of close to 430 million euros.

“We are small, although we like to do things well. We have not considered going down the low cost path, and our passengers notice that, with a service and quality that is well above the average”, says Núñez, who has just signed Santiago Guerra, former CEO of Bimbo, as general coordinator, a position that is equivalent to number two in the aeronautical group. In his first appearance earlier this month, Guerra announced the purchase of five new Embraer to double the fleet of jets, which by 2024 will be ten, after an agreement with the Brazilian construction company for 389 million dollars.