ELFAA has welcomed publication of the
CAA report on the impact on the market UK-Europe of the development of
low fares airlines.
The report finds that, while low fares airlines have grown rapidly, the
overall annual growth of traffic between the UK and Europe is pretty
much unchanged over the 10 year period of the study. The report finds
that the traffic growth, enjoyed by low fares airlines, offering
affordable direct services, has been largely through substitution -
principally for charter carriers but, to a lesser extent, for
traditional airlines also.
Commenting on the CAA’s report published today, ELFAA’s Secretary
General, John Hanlon, said “this finding supports the low fares
airlines’ conviction that their sector’s significant successful growth
has been beneficial for the environment in that low fares airlines
operate the newest, environmentally-friendly aircraft, with denser seat
configurations and higher occupancy factors, therefore lower emissions
per passenger kilometre.
Real incremental growth has, however, been recorded from and to the
regions of the UK, thanks to the introduction by low fares airlines of
attractive low fare direct services to destinations all over Europe,
which eliminates the previous need to resort to circuitous, multi-
sector connecting flights through congested hub airports.
More than one in five passengers on low fares airlines from/to the UK is
travelling on business, to the undoubted benefit of the UK economy,
particularly regional economies. These business travellers have a lower
average income than their counterparts on traditional airlines. This is
probably due to low fares airlines having facilitated more travel by
price-sensitive Small and Medium Enterprises, as well as enabling
shorter business itineraries through the availability of direct services
from/to the regions. The report takes account of business travellers’
personal income only.
The report’s findings on average earning of leisure passengers are more
difficult to interpret, the report taking account of all household
income of leisure passengers. [not sure I follow this point - why
wouldn’t they take all household income into account?] There can be no
doubt that inbound passengers to the UK from many parts of Europe, using
the wide range of new direct routes, introduced by low fares airlines,
would have been previously unable to afford the high fares they would
have been required to pay.
ELFAA is pleased to note the report’s finding that the successful
development of low fares services has enabled more business travel by
smaller and regional companies. While the overall trend in growth of
travel between the UK and Europe remains largely unchanged, passengers
are undoubtedly benefiting from the radically reduced fares offered by
low fares airlines.