Only 2 low cost airlines to survive in Europe

[September 24th 2008]

World Low Cost Airlines Cngress

Speaking at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London, Ryanair deputy CEO, Howard Millar, has predicted only two low cost airlines will survive in Europe.

At the congress at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in London attended by many of the world’s low cost carriers including Flybe, Virgin Blue, Southwest Airlines, Air Berlin and Germanwings, Millar made his startling prediction speaking as part of a keynote panel. The conference opened with a keynote address by Herb Kelleher (pictured), founder of Southwest Airlines.

Not surprisingly, one of the budget airlines Millar expects to survive the crisis facing the airline industry is Ryanair. The only other no frills airline he expects to survive in Europe is easyJet.

High oil prices and lower passenger demand as a result of the credit crunch have already seen a host of airlines going bust this year including Zoom, XL Airways, Silverjet and Eos, and now Alitalia is hanging on the brink of bankruptcy. But no one has yet suggested the airline crisis is so severe that only two low fares airlines will survive it.

In his speech to executives from the world’s low cost airlines, Millar also predicted that only three flag carrying airlines would survive in Europe too. He did not name them, but the three are thought to be British Airways, Lufthansa, and Air France KLM.

Yesterday Ryanair announced two million free seats – that is free including taxes and charges, and Millar said: “There will be more airline bankruptcies in the coming weeks following the closure of Zoom, Futura, XL Airways and the bankruptcy of Alitalia. Many unviable loss making European airlines will cease trading this winter because of unsustainable losses and insufficient cash reserves”.

“We call on Europe’s high fare airlines including BA, Air France and Lufthansa to reduce their unjustified fuel surcharges to reflect the recent 30% drop in oil prices,” Millar added.

Also at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress, Ryanair director of legal and regulatory affairs, Jim Callaghan called on the European Commission to abandon plans to include aviation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

“The Commission’s proposals for including aviation in ETS will do nothing for the environment and in fact will damage it as it punishes the most efficient airlines while protecting the most inefficient, like Alitalia and Olympic Airways,” Callaghan said.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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Only 2 Low Cost Airlines To Survive In Europe