Barcelona airport tempting foreign airlines

 Qatar Airways is one of the airlines said to be in talks to open new routes out of Barcelona

Qatar Airways is one of the airlines said to be in talks to open new routes out of Barcelona

Barcelona airport has resisted relatively well to the economic crisis affecting Spain, however, and although it has managed to increase their numbers, long-haul traffic continues to be one of the weak spots of the airport.

While it is unlikely that Vueling is jumping into the long-haul market anytime soon and Norwegian has hinted that it might launch some long-haul services out of the Catalan capital by 2016, some other cards are on the table.

Little is known about the state of the talks but some Spanish media have been reporting that the Catalan government is in talks with Colombian airline Avianca, that currently operates four direct flights a week between Barcelona and Bogotá, to increase the frequency to daily and make of Barcelona a sort of stopover point for Avianca's passengers flying further onto Europe. It is unclear at this point if this would be done directly, by having Avianca aircraft continue to other European cities after stopping in Barcelona or in cooperation with other European airlines.

This latest option is the one that might materialize if Qatar Airways deepens its cooperation with IAG's airlines, in particular with Vueling, which might be able to feed Qatar Airways' Barcelona flight from many secondary airports in the Western Mediterranean area, or even, Qatar Airways' flights operating between Barcelona and Latin American destinations while making use of "Fifth Freedom" rights (Bogotá and Buenos Aires are said to be in the list)