Vueling, the Spanish carrier courted by British Airways parent IAG, saw 2012 profits surge as passenger numbers grew by 20%.

The Barcelona-based carrier achieved a net profit of €28.3 million, a rise of 173% on 2011 figures as carryings increased to 14.8 million.

The rise in traffic was partly attributed to a doubling in connecting passengers at Barcelona El Prat airport to a total of 1.6 million.

Total revenue rose by 27.7% to €1.1 billion while the cost of fuel was up by 34%.

A cost-cutting programme implemented by the company resulted in savings of €21.5 million as the airline sought to overcome Spain’s economic woes which saw overall domestic traffic at Spanish airports fall by 13% during the year.

Vueling plans to continue increasing international capacity by as much as 25% this year with an increased fleet of 70 aircraft during the summer.

A further 100 cost-saving initiatives are planned for the year worth €17.7 million.

New services and products aimed at business passengers are planned including a new cabin configuration and in-flight Wi-Fi.

While IAG was not mentioned, Vueling said it “plans to enter into new partnership agreements with other airlines.

“These agreements will make it possible to increase passenger traffic by offering new connections.

“In addition, the consolidation process in the European airline industry may facilitate new market opportunities. In 2013 Vueling will also consolidate its low-cost high-service business model.

“On the risk side, the weak macroeconomic environment and sluggish demand in southern Europe may have negative effects. Other risks include an increase in airport fees and high fuel prices.”