The website of Spanish newspaper ABC reports that Air Europa will start a hub in Salvador de Bahia (SSA) with flights inbound from Madrid (MAD) continuing to Cordoba (COR), Montevideo (MVD) and Santiago (SCL).
The airline has operated 3x/weekly Madrid (MAD) - Salvador (SSA) flights since 2003 and will now increase these to daily with onward flights to COR 2x/week, MVD 2x/week and SCL 3x/week. The hub will be built up gradually starting in November with flights being added until April 2014 when the full schedule will be up-and-running just in time for the start of the 2014 World Cup, of which Salvador will be one of the host cities.
Salvador, with its tropical beaches is a strong touristic, gastronomic and cultural destination. A spokesman for Grupo Globalia, owner of Air Europa, indicated that Salvador was chosen for the hub "for several reasons; it has a strategic geographic location, it is an established destination for tourism, and it has an airport and tourism infrastructure that will allow for an increase in the flow (of travelers)."
Air Europa will apparently be allowed "Fifth Freedom" traffic rights to carry revenue passengers between Brazil and the other South American countries. Spain, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay collectively account for 210,000 of the 558,000 annual foreign visitors to Salvador and the regional government of Bahia (of which Salvador is the capital) estimates that the new flights will result in a 20% increase in this number.