From what pulpit does the anathema come from: «The prices of airline tickets ‘at low prices’ are too low»? Too low are the “low cost” prices? From the supreme pulpit, by Michael O’Leary, CEO of Ryanair since 1994 founded in 1985 by Tony Ryan, the Irish duo who, by exploiting the 1997 deregulation to the maximum limit, revolutionized the air travel market by beating traditional airlines and by now giving away to two generations the pleasure of flying uncomfortably in every corner of Europe and North Africa as before could only be done by train with Interrail. The zero-euro flights offered in the early 2000s are memorable: it was a thrill to book those free tickets online, to which at the time only airport charges (a handful of euro) or any luggage to be loaded were added.
“Traveling light” is another of the great lessons of the low cost world which now risks collapsing between strikes, gigantic delays, cancellations, requests for reimbursements. It doesn’t take much: if there is distrust in the certainty of the flight, many will return to “normal” airlines and those who cannot afford it will give up the trip directly.
Now the low accounts do not add up anymore: already in the first years following 1997, with national airlines also falling like skittles, there were those who predicted a scenario with few survivors, just by chance the more robust companies and with the largest market ( those of the Arabian peninsula and the Asian ones, for example) flanked by a couple of low cost airlines such as Ryanair and Easy Jet. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, with a new surge in fuel prices and inflation, have accelerated the planned goal: low cost prices will no longer be so low also because the “no frills” strategy has scraped everything away the possible (drinks and snacks only for a fee) while at the same time increasing the expedients to collect as much as possible from the “side dish”: from check in at the counter to the labyrinth of baggage prices.
Zero price ticket
It is true that a few years ago O’Leary himself had even hypothesized the return of the zero price for tickets (and if they cost 9.9 euros for a London-Bergamo available today we are not too far from that non-price) in a way systematic and not tied to offers: profits would have come from the “boundary” and the share that the company collects for each traveler who crosses the tunnel of the duty free shops. But it was 2017, when Ryanair flew 118 million passengers thanks to 2000 routes in 33 European countries, North Africa and the Middle East with a fleet of half a thousand Boeing 737s.
With the airport of Orio al Serio (Bergamo) which has become the second most important hub of the kingdom of O’Leary, triggering a formidable induction for trade and services. There are countless cities or local authorities in all of Europe that have offered golden bridges (direct and tax concessions) to Ryanair to be included in the board of the Irish company, also dragged by the “founds” of the CEO who has done from time to time titled the news with news such as: “We will soon introduce standing room”. Soon.
Two years after the cleaver pandemic, four years after the war in Ukraine. Here then is Michael O’Leary who announces that the fares will increase in the next five years because – he – “is tired of spending more for the train to Stansted (Ryanair’s very peripheral hub airport in north London, ed). for the flight to Rome. An absurdity ».
In fact, according to surveys in the United States, fares have already increased by 18% in April, the biggest leap since 1963. “Stelios Haji-Ioannou of EasyJet and I created the phenomenon of low cost airlines – said Financial Times – But now this world is no longer sustainable ».
Ohibò, a world that is no longer sustainable, just what happened by repeating the direct and indirect employees of the low cost companies that in these days of recovery are going on strike, sending airports all over the world haywire.
Fabio Lazzarini, CEO of Ita: “Enough incentives for low cost”
In an interview with the press, Fabio Lazzarini, CEO of Ita, said that EasyJet in this period “has even chosen to sell fewer tickets to be able to travel with two flight attendants instead of three”. And on O’Leary’s “bullish” announcement: «Low cost fares are close to those of traditional airlines. The time has come to reduce the incentives recognized by regions and airports to low cost “.
Strikes in European airports
Analysts had indicated the recovery of pre-Covid trafficking in at least 4 years, but the facts have disproved them. While the Omicron variants still bite, the demand for flights has skyrocketed. However, the companies and airports, exhausted by the pandemic voids, had streamlined the workforce that is now not adequate for the passenger boom. In addition, the worst limits of the low cost system have come to light: the low wages of the employees who are now on strike, while those who are missing cannot strike. It is not only true for this sector, but the post-pandemic is marked by the fact that there are no longer enough people who accept low wages. Finally, under this cloud cover, the price of fuel continues to rise due to the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The perfect storm to mark if not the end at least the beginning of the end of the era of low cost airlines.
The calendar of unrest
On Sunday 17 July, Ryanair pilots and flight attendants strike in Italy. And it is much worse in Spain, one of the most popular destinations in this period: from 12 to 15 July, from 18 to 21 and from 25 to 28 July. Critical situation also to the Scandinavian SAS: interrupted negotiations and strikes in sight that threaten 30 thousand passengers a day, or 50% of flights. Tomorrow, Wednesday 6 July, meeting between the Minister of Infrastructure and Sustainable Mobility, Enrico Giovannini, between companies, trade unions, ENAV and ENAC.
For the month of June alone, there is talk of 25 million euros in reimbursements: this is the sum that travelers can request from airlines due to airline disruptions. This is the estimate, collected by the claim company, ItaliaRimborso, which, on a daily basis, receives complaints from passengers, often left alone at the airport due to a canceled flight or a delayed flight. Air disruptions tripled compared to May.
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