Last month we reported that average fares were up for LCCs across Europe for the first time in over a year. We warned that the timing of Easter causes some misleading comparisons for 2017 v 2016, but still there appeared to be an underlying trend of positivity. Any optimism has been tempered this month as our fare data for May 2016 shows fares for LCCs across Europe are down by 12% compared to May 2016.
Airport and handling charges are Ryanair’s second biggest expense. The airline regularly features in the news alongside airport charges, whether it be closing a base because charges have risen, or opening new services thanks to some agreement with an airport or government or tourism organisation. Low charges are key to the success of Ryanair, which makes recent moves into European hubs more than just the usual round of annual network expansion.
Qatar Airways has been banned from operating in the airspace of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, and flights to those countries have also been halted. The operational impact of the action will be significant, as almost 25% of Qatar Airways departures (though just 4% of their ASKs) are to these countries; Doha will likely be home to many parked aircraft for the duration of the bans.
Since we started producing these fare watch articles back in January, every overall figure (i.e. not airline/country specific) we have had to report on has been negative. That has all changed this month, as fares in April 2017 are up 10% on April 2016.
It would seem a “no brainer”. Just allow the current aviation agreements to continue as is, with the UK to retain full membership of the European Common Aviation Area (ECAA), once the UK has “Brexited”. Surely common sense will prevail? After all, there are huge mutual benefits of barrier-free travel between the UK and Europe today, and these benefits are acknowledged by virtually all stakeholders on either side of the Channel.