The Avlo was to be launched more than a year ago on the Madrid-Barcelona link but the operator had to give up due to a pandemic.
New acceleration in the high-speed rail market in Spain. The national operator, Renfe, is launching its first low-cost high-speed train called Avlo on 23 June.
It will run four times a day on the Madrid-Barcelona axis with journey times between 2:30 and 3:17, depending on the stops served.
Renfe wants to strike hard to convince in a country where the car reigns supreme and where the train is considered expensive and therefore used mainly by businessmen. The first price is thus displayed at 7 euros while the minimum price for the AVE (the classic TGV of the RENFE) is 76 euros.
It is also a question of countering the offensive of the SNCF which launched its own low-cost TGV (Ouigo) last May on the same route with prices starting at 9 euros, on 87% of the trains.
Low prices and optional services
How to be profitable with such prices? RENFE and SNCF have the same strategy: paid services. The first invoice for example 8 euros to be able to cancel or change his ticket or to reserve a seat and even 10 euros to embark with a large suitcase. However, Wi-Fi is free.
With the French carrier, we offer optional seat reservations, XL seats, or even access to an entertainment platform with films, reports, games … Ouigo also wants to stand out with its double-decker trains, a first in Spain. Remember that in France, 30% of Ouigo customers pay to choose their seat.
In any case, the Spanish train market is whetting the appetite of the SNCF. “After that, it will be Valencia, Alicante, Malaga and Seville in Spain. We want to mesh the territory over 24 months”, explained last May to BFM Business, Stéphane Rapebach, general manager of Ouigo.
“With this offer and the very important ecological awareness, we believe to convince the Spaniards and to make the train grow in Spain”, he said.
Olivier Chicheportiche BFM Business journalist