OK Diario, a Spanish media outlet with more than 12 million readers, interviewed our CEO.
Euroairlines, the company of four brothers capable of finding niches in the gigantic airline market
A small company, Euroairlines, controlled by four Valencian brothers, the López Lázaros, has been an example for 23 years that wanting is power. Established 23 years ago, in this time it has been able to find its own market niches in a sector of large companies and larger magnitudes such as air transport. The company led by Antonio López Lázaro (CEO), has become a small group of four companies formed by a charter operator for both passengers and cargo (Euroairlines), a distributor (Euroairlines Distribución), an airline services company (FLG Aviation) and a consulting firm (LLM). The strategy is to consolidate the growth of all its business areas with the objective of doubling its gross operating profit (Ebitda) in 2024 to exceed three million euros.
The company that gives its name to the group, Euroairlines, is a small company with regular flights on lines that are not covered by large airlines. «We are not a volume company, but we are a high-income company with a product very focused on both passenger and cargo activity, where we operate as a last mile courier»; says Antonio López Lázaro.
The operator carries out regular flights between Gerona and Palma de Mallorca and between Gerona and Ibiza. «We give a cost that represents a third of the cost of a reactor and that is transferred directly to the client; That is why we want to attack the SME segment and break the barrier that seems to exist when talking about executive aviation," says the group's CEO.
In cargo, Euroairlines transports everything from medical to industrial material for companies that cannot stop, for example, because a piece of their machinery fails.
"Our product and our fleet are very good for interisland flights," acknowledges the group's chief executive. For this reason, Euroairlines is currently analyzing the opening of routes to and between Spanish, French and Italian archipelagos: Corsica and Sardinia are in its sights.
Strategically, growth will be in Europe and America although, in the medium term, they plan to open operations in North Africa, with Morocco and Tunisia as priority markets because, he asserts: "It is where we have to be for the next thirty years." The operator will focus its growth on Africa, while the distribution part will base its development in both Africa and Asia. At the moment, Euroairlines has an international presence, direct and indirect, in 30 countries.
For the airline operator, the approach is to enter "segments not served by large companies to grow in Spain and, later, internationally through alliances with other operators or with its own fleet," says López Lázaro.
Currently, the fleet is made up of two aircraft which, this summer, will be joined by a third while the project continues to reach four aircraft. These are Beethcraft Baron G58 aircraft (a light aircraft with capacity for six people and more than 2,700 kilometers of range) and Cessna 421C, a light twin-engine aircraft designed especially for passenger transportation. This will mean accumulated investments of four million euros between 2023 and 2026 given that the entire fleet is owned.
Associated with the fleet plan, the company is about to hire two more pilots and has started conversion courses to incorporate five more.
In the medium term, the consolidation of the recorded growth allows us to think, in terms of fleet, of making the leap to a fleet of larger aircraft such as the Beechcraft B200 and B330. That is, turboprop ships with capacity for ten passengers and more than 2,700 kilometers of range. "The ceiling would be to reach ships with up to 19 passengers such as the Beechcraft B1900," adds the CEO of Euroairlines.
Grow after Covid
In a country of SMEs that forgets about SMEs, Euroairlines suffered harshly - like so many other tens of thousands of small Spanish companies - from the impact of Covid-19, the paralysis of economic activity and, most especially, the complete paralysis of the transports.
«During the pandemic 'we burned the ships with the ICO'. Without that credit we would not be here today. Today we have reached the shore - the credit is being returned normally - in a way in which the solvency of our business model has been demonstrated and, therefore, we have had the participation of external partners," says López Lázaro. The largest shareholders of one of the most relevant renewable energy companies in Spain also participate in the capital of Euroairlines - in their personal capacity.
The point is that, after the pandemic, the competition map has been reduced due to the disappearance of numerous companies. For this reason, the CEO of the group does not hesitate to assure that “we want to ride the wave of post-Covid growth. The idea is to grow and grow well in all businesses.
The group has grown especially in providing services to other airlines: "Even some with millions of passengers," adds López Lázaro. As? By providing distribution services to facilitate markets, channels and connection technology with third parties; In fact, its own technology uses Amadeus to achieve links that are not usually common between companies.
Euroairlines provides commercial sales force and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) services as a call center. In addition, its consulting arm is specialized in the areas of commercial, distribution, air operations and technology.
With a team of 50 people, the group develops a program of strategic alliances with key technological partners in the industry such as Indra (technology, project development) or the public company Services and Studies for Air Navigation and Aeronautical Safety (Senasa) with which develops several fleet and green hydrogen projects for aviation.
"We are voluntarily participating in the payment for emissions when, as a rule - adds Antonio López Lázaro - our operator has no obligation."
Although perhaps the most striking - given the size of Euroairlines' company - is the alliance signed with the giant Indra (the second largest company in the world in air traffic systems, for example). The agreement with Indra's civil industry area, Minsait, affects two areas: marketing. Euroairlines supports the distribution of cost accounting systems and technological solutions for air sales and distribution; while Minsait helps the family business develop its technology.
Collaboration with higher research centers such as the Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM) and the European University complete the range of alliances signed for now.
These alliances have allowed the Euroairlines group to develop various tools that are used by the company itself and distributed to the sector. Although the most significant thing about this company-university collaboration are the different research projects in which it participates. One of them is the use of green hydrogen (obtained from natural elements) with a fuel cell electric motor and its application to aviation in collaboration with the Polytechnic University of Madrid.