7/30/2010: Spanish Charter Carrier AlbaStar Takes Flight

AlbaStar (AP) was created to provide charter services across Europe. It offers pilgrimages and religious trips to the French holy city of Lourdes.



July 30, 2023

DALLAS - Today in Aviation, Spanish charter carrier AlbaStar (AP) operated its inaugural flight in 2010. 

The flight, from the carriers Palma (PMI) base to Milan Malpensa (MXP), was operated by a Boeing 737-400 (EC-LAV) 'Pino D'Urso,' named in honor of the airline's founder. 

AP was established on November 30, 2009, by former LTE International Airways (XO) and MyAir (8I) staff led by Michael Harrington, the former CEO of XO. The aim was to provide charter services for Spanish, Italian, and other European tour operators.

Listen to this article:

The airline's first aircraft was named in honor of AlbaStar's founder. Photo: AlbaStar


In January 2011, the carrier diversified by adding a Boeing 737-400 freighter (EC-LKB) to the fleet. 

By 2014 the airline had opened a second base at Milan's Malpensa Airport (MXP). It also has hubs at Milan's Bergamo Airport (BGY) and on the island of Sicily at Trapani–Birgi Airport (TPS).

AlbaStar has also established itself as the leading European airline in pilgrimages and religious trips to the holy city of Lourdes, France. Today, AP, serves Tarbes–Lourdes–Pyrénées Airport (LDE) from over 45 destinations. 

AlbaStar Boeing 737-800 (EC-NLK was delivered to the airline in August 2020. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways

Birthday Celebrations

By its tenth birthday in 2020, AlbaStar was operating a fleet of six 737-800s, the first of which it received in June 2017. It also has a single -400 series still in service. Since its inception, the airline has carried over 2.9 million passengers. 

In July 2022, AP became the European launch customer of the 'WheelTug,' an electric system fitted to its aircraft's nose wheel to allow pilots to taxi without the need for engines to be running.

Speaking of the innovative product, Albastar CEO Michael Harrington said: "For Albastar to be the European launch customer of such an important project for cutting CO2 emissions is a great honor and we very much hope this will set a game‐changing example with other European airlines."


Featured Image: In June 2017, AP welcomed its first 737-800 and also unveiled a new look for its Flight Attendants. Photo: AlbaStar