Regional airlines see growth following recession

Regional airlines see growth following recession

The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) has reported an average 2.5 per cent scheduled passenger growth for its members in 2010.

In addition, the body – which represents some 70 intra-European airlines - the highest passenger load factor on record of 66.2 per cent was also recorded, indicating cautious recovery and a managed response to a second tough year.

A record number of delegates have gathered in Malta for the Association’s annual spring regional airline conference.

Memories of last year’s event in Edinburgh are still fresh in people’s minds.

It coincided with the Icelandic volcano eruption and major operational disruption. The unlimited liability imposed on airlines by the wholly inept Regulation 261/2004 lead, in turn, to a massive financial burden for many carriers.

“These figures, and particularly our highest ever passenger load factor of 66.2 per cent, are encouraging,” said ERA director general, Mike Ambrose.

“They demonstrate the resilience and flexibility of intra-European airlines to respond swiftly and strategically to changing markets.

“However, while demand may be gradually recovering, yield remains low and European air transport recovery lags behind the rest of the world,” he concluded.